Court documents filed by a Belize City businessman against the Belize Bank and others are alleging that personnel at the Belize Land Registry may have been engaged in questionable business practices when they issued a land certificate for a parcel of land on Ambergris Caye in the name of its previous owner, who had sold the land some 27 years ago.
David Quinto, a businessman of 11 Queen Street in Belize City, secured an injunction on behalf of his father William Quinto and his brother Jimmy Quinto, to stop the sale of the land in question, which was scheduled to go on the auction block on Wednesday, May 3, 2011.
The businessman, in a sworn affidavit dated May 3, 2011, says he only became aware of the Land Registry misdeeds on Sunday, April 17, when his attention was drawn to an advertisement in the Amandala newspaper showing that the 2.14 acres of land, a mile north of San Pedro, had been put up for sale by the Belize Bank.
Quinto told the court that the advertisement showed the bank as the mortgagees, and Alex Nunez as the registered freehold property owner.
He presented documents showing that on March 5th of 1984, Nunez’s father Francisco Nunez, sold the property to then businessman Dennis Smith for the sum of $2,000.
Smith then sold the said parcel of land to the Quintos 14 months later in May of 1985.
“Alex Nunez obtained the transfer of this property from his father allegedly for the sum of $5,000,” David Quinto told the court.
He further stated that the land is valued at $500,000, but that the Registrar of Land for the purposes of stamp duty placed a value of $10,000 on the land when the land was issued in the name of Alex Nunez.
“Despite the fact that the said Francisco Nunez ceased to be owner of Parcel 5132 in 1985, the Registrar of Lands issued to him Land Certificate No. 8452/2006 dated 25th July, 2006. The act of Francisco Nunez is dishonest and fraudulent since he obtained registration of a parcel of land which he knew he was no longer the owner of,” Quinto told the court.
He stated that when his attorney Fred Lumor set out to investigate how it was that the parcel of land ended up in the Nunez’s name, the Registrar of Lands and staff at the Land Registry repeatedly refused to make available to Lumor the documentation used to have Francisco Nunez and his son Alex Nunez as proprietors of the parcel of land in question.
Quinto further stated that when they did get access to the documents, it revealed that the land certificate issued in their names was the subject of ratification. They, however, were never informed by the Land Registrar of the ratification before or after it was carried out.
He said his father and brother had secured a certified copy of the deed of conveyance back in January of 2009 after they became entangled in a dispute with a developer who was extracting soil from the property for land fill on an adjacent property.
No date has been set for the substantive matter to be heard before the court. The Reporter