Bo­gus Agents A Concern

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There are a lot of bo­gus agents op­er­at­ing in the coun­try, sell­ing prop­er­ties es­pe­cially in the Western Di­vi­sion, ac­cord­ing to the Real Es­tate Agents Li­cens­ing Board (REALB).

Most of them are said to be tar­get­ing is­lands to sell. While some of them are lo­cals, a few are known to be com­ing from over­seas and ad­ver­tis­ing in so­cial media to sell prop­er­ties in Fiji.

One case in par­tic­u­lar was of some­one com­ing from over­seas and try­ing to sell an is­land for US$18 mil­lion (FJ$39,165,300) in the Lo­maiv­iti Group.

Road­show

Con­sid­er­ing the in­crease in bo­gus agents, REALB will carry out a road­show in the Western Di­vi­sion this week with the Con­sumer Coun­cil of Fiji to cre­ate aware­ness on the issue. REALB chair­man Ab­dul Has­san said the bo­gus agents were not only of concern to the Board but for the gen­eral public too. “There are a lot of bo­gus agents who are not reg­is­tered. They just come up any­how through dif­fer­ent means, some of them pre­tend­ing to help friends sell their prop­er­ties,” he said. “Some of them come from over­seas and look for prop­er­ties to sell.

“There was an is­land up for sale for US$18 mil­lion (FJ$39,165,300) near Koro Is­land and some­one from Savusavu alerted us about this.

“We mon­i­tor these bo­gus agents who mostly use Face­book and we cross check with our regis­ter to see whether they are reg­is­tered as real es­tate agents or not.” Mr Has­san said the bo­gus agents were of concern to ev­ery­one as they could take money from peo­ple and just dis­ap­pear. He said there was a pos­si­bil­ity that the bo­gus agents may have taken money from some peo­ple for the sale of prop­er­ties.

Pend­ing cases

“We re­cently found out that a lady was sell­ing some prop­er­ties and she was say­ing that she’s help­ing a friend. She said she was the wife of a Po­lice of­fi­cer. But she later with­drew from sell­ing the prop­er­ties,” he said. “We have given cases of some bo­gus agents to the Po­lice and we have about 20 cases that are pend­ing with Po­lice right now. “It in­volves a lot of money as these bo­gus agents col­lect com­mis­sion.

“We are aware of a lot of bo­gus agents op­er­at­ing in the West who are tar­get­ing to sell is­lands.”

In­crease bo­gus agents

Mr Has­san said con­sid­er­ing the in­crease in the num­ber of bo­gus agents, the Board had or­gan­ised the first-ever road­show start­ing in Lau­toka tomorrow.

The road­show in Lau­toka will be held at the Sugar City Mall from 10am to 3pm, at Nair’s Dais in Nadi be­tween the same time on Thurs­day and next to ANZ Bank in Si­ga­toka from 10am to 2pm on Fri­day.

“This is the first road­show that we are or­gan­is­ing to carry out an in­ten­sive aware­ness on the bo­gus agents and the Con­sumer Coun­cil will also be with us,” said Mr Has­san.

Po­lice com­ments

Po­lice spokesper­son Ana Naisoro said yes­ter­day that three cases were pend­ing in court, one had been filed for in­suf­fi­cient evidence while 12 were still pend­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

While some of them are lo­cals, a few are known to be com­ing from over­seas and ad­ver­tis­ing in so­cial media to sell prop­er­ties in Fiji.

Real Es­tate Agents Li­cens­ing Board staff Azal Hus­sein and Ros­alia Ca­maiver­ata mon­i­tor­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties on so­cial media.

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