CH&PA probing alleged Region Six housing scam

Rehanna Deonarine

An alleged housing scam was last week uncovered in Berbice after two Corentyne residents turned up at the Regional Housing Office inquiring about lands they had paid for.

The suspect has since been identified as Rehanna Reha Deonarine, according to sources.

A press release from the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) said that other reports have been received but the alleged victims are unwilling to pursue the matter. The known case will be forwarded to the police.

“The Central Housing and Planning Authority is investigating an alleged scam in Region 6 involving the sale of lands by an individual not authorized to conduct business on behalf of the agency”  the release said.

It was explained that the Authority was informed that a woman purporting to represent the agency has scammed several persons in the Region of thousands of dollars. The woman was not identified in the release.

The release said that last week two men visited the Regional Housing Office to enquire of lands they paid for, only to be told that the agency does not have any records of transacting business with them.

“The men related to housing officials at the Regional Office that they were approached by a woman claiming that she could have gotten lands for them through the agency at a reduced cost. One of the men paid the woman $150,000 for three house lots with a balance of $180,000 for his children while another paid $70,000 with a balance of $60,000”, the release.

It stated that similar cases have been related to the housing office but individuals are unwilling to provide further information.

“The agency will be turning the matter over to the police, however, persons are asked to be on the alert for scammers”, the release said before stressing that all payments relating to the sale of land or housing units from the CH&PA must be done at the agency’s Georgetown head office, Regional Housing Offices or Regional Democratic Council, if so advised.

Stabroek News was told yesterday that the two men who both reside at Kilcoy Village turned up at the housing office separately. It was while being questioned that the men described the woman who has scammed them and released her name. It would appear that previously the duo never came into contact with the woman. They told the housing officers that someone “put them on to her”

This is the second alleged housing scam to be unearthed this year.

Omesh Sasenarayan, Regional Housing Officer for Region Two and his deputy Safeia Razak were arrested separately in August after they were accused of unlawfully collecting money from persons in exchange for house lots.

Sasenarayan who was the first to be arrested by the police is alleged to have unlawfully collected $50,000 for a house lot and then issuing a forged receipt. He was released after posting bail.

Razak was arrested at her home at Anna Regina days after returning to work from vacation leave. It is alleged that she unlawfully collected money from persons for house lots. She too was released after posting bail.

Stabroek News was informed that both of them were dismissed and attempts are being made to find replacements.

This matter was handed over to the police and is still being investigated. The Authority had said that an audit of the Region Two office would be conducted. It is unclear if this has been completed.

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