Land registry stuck in outdated processes | Daily News

Land registry stuck in outdated processes

Jagath Wickramanayake
Jagath Wickramanayake

Presidents Counsel, Jagath Wickramanayake said that the outdated methods of certifying documents linked to the registration of land are susceptible to fraudulent transactions. Wickramanayake was speaking at an event at Cinnamon Lakeside on July 9. The event was organized by TW Corporate Learning.

Wickramanayake represented a client who had purchased a fraudulent deed. Wickramanayake said, “I showed the judge who heard my matter the documents the real owner has and when you look at them you tend to think the documents my client was having should be the original documents. They are more original than the original documents. They prepare beautifully fraudulent deeds.” Wickramanayake warned against sending office clerks to obtain documents from the land registry. Wickramanayake said, “If the real owner is trying to sell there could be some issues, some problems down the line, some undivided small share has gone to someone else. When these people prepare fraudulent chains of title there are no issues.”

Wickramanayake added “I personally feel the people working in the land registry big time are involved in these fraudulent transactions. They have the land registrar seal pertaining to different eras.”

Wickramanayake said, “These kinds of transactions are taking place every day in this country. We don’t have a system in our country where the government certifies or government guarantees the title. Now we are trying to introduce that with a lot of issues. We have an act called Titled Registration. There are a lot of issues. 90 odd sections are there in the act. Except for the opening paragraph and the last one (Sinhala text prevailing) all the other sections are to be repealed. The amendment was prepared by the land registry itself. They themselves have realized the act is with a lot of flaws. A new 170 odd sections are to be introduced.”

Wickramanayake said that the true mastermind behind a fraudulent transaction might not be the person the victim is dealing with. He said that buyers should be wary of a property being sold twice which is possible as the registration process is very slow.

He said that title insurance is uncommon. Simon Thap, general manager Colombo Port City, asked a question on the legality of freehold deeds for condominiums where the land lies on a leasehold basis and Wickramanayake said there was legal uncertainty. Attorney at law, Senaka De Saram, said that he expected new laws to be drafted for condominium sales in the port city.


 

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