Two men have been given the green light to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of more than 50 prospective landowners, who claimed they were scammed out of millions of dollars in deposits for a seaside residential development in Cedros.
High Court Judge Ricky Rahim today granted Fitzroy Williams and Neil Bishop permission to file and serve the claim against property developer Joseph Dhanoosingh, real estate agent Glenn Thomas and Thomas' company Mass Contracting Limited.
Both men filed their claim in December, last year, but approached Rahim for approval to represent other alleged victims, who came forward after learning of the lawsuit.
The members of the group, whose only previous connection was their investment in the project, gathered at the Hall of Justice for the hearing. They were seen huddled in groups and were overheard passionately discussing the case before it was eventually called by Rahim around midday.
As the group is being represented by Williams and Bishop, the members would be all bound by the final decision in the case.
In the lawsuit, the group is claiming that they first learned of the development after they responded to a newspaper advertisement published in April 2016.
They were shown development plans and what they believed to be Town and Country planning permission by Thomas.
Some of the group made down payments while others claimed they paid the full purchase price as advertised. In total, more than $10 million in payments were made.
Williams and Bishop decided to file the claim after there were delays in distributing the plots of land and issues in registering the deeds of conveyance provided upon full payment, as they claimed were not authentic documents.
Once the breach of contract claim is filed and served on Thomas, his company and Dhanoosingh, a date for the first hearing of the case would be set by Rahim.
In addition to filing the claim, the group has also reported the incident to the Fraud Squad.
The group is being represented by Gilbert Peterson, SC, and Josiah Soo Hon.
- by Derek Achong. Photo by Ayana Kinsale