A Lae family has reported a case of alleged fraud to the police after their deceased father’s name was used in court documents as part of a move to have them evicted from their property.
Saking Waga was one of the first settlers at Nawaeb Block in Lae. He obtained a block of state land in the 1970s where he built the family home. Mr Waga died in 2011 and left the block and the house to his children.
But last week, his son-in-law, Daniel Marika, was confronted by a group of men who told him that the land portion had been sold and that they were there to take measurements of the land allotment.
The family were later surprised to find that the name of their deceased father was on a statutory declaration form with a forged signature.
“They falsified documents. Then tried to have us evicted,” says Daniel Marika.
Upon further investigation, they found that the youngest brother of the family, Alois Saking Waga had received a payment of K42,000. It is understood, he may have also signed a statutory declaration form bearing the name of their late father.
The buyer is a local businessman who paid the money to Alois in the presence of community leaders at Nawaeb Block.
According to family members, Alois who was photographed receiving the money, can’t read or write. He has since gone into hiding.
The family believes that while he may have understood the transaction, they don’t believe he understood the documents he was signing – including a hastily written, four-paragraph sale agreement and the disputed statutory declaration form bearing the name of their deceased father.
The family are now in court over the matter. But instead of being complainants in the court case, they are defendants with the buyer as the complainant backed by supporting documents from the National Housing Corporation.
Senior members of the community have come forward to support the family. The Law and Order Chairman at Nawaeb block, James Kinjin, was called in to resolve the matter.
He noticed the irregularities and ordered the men who were measuring the block to stop.
“They were about to be forcefully removed from the block. They were measuring the block while the family was still living there.
“Saking Waga died in 2011. You’re telling me that a dead man authorised the sale of his own block?”
The person who signed the sale agreement as a witness is Michael Nakut, a community leader, who came to the scene as the family was being interviewed.
He admitted that Alois who allegedly received money for the sale can’t read or write but maintains this was not an eviction case.
“Their father is dead. The young man has taken his place. He is illiterate. He signed. This is not an eviction.”
The National Housing Corporation, according to documents, also claims ownership over the land. Contained in a material presented in court by the complainant and buyer, is a tenancy agreement dated 01st of December, 2017. The agreement is stamped by the National Housing Corporation.
The recently appointed NHC Regional Manager, David Augwi, has been made aware of the case. He has since asked for a brief from the NHC lawyer who prepared the sale and tenancy agreements.