I refere to the above
case about lawyer made brothers' lives a mess. OWNERS
DUPED, BANK ALSO DUPED
former lawyer forged their signatures and made herself a co-owner of their $1 million property in Senang Crescent. The court
ruled that the bank has the right to sell the property and get the money owed to it. The learned Jude even agreed that ”This
is yet another case where a fraud is committed, the prime suspect flees, and the victims are left to dispute over who is to
bear the loss… there was nothing to show that the bank was at fault for approving the loan, which was an ordinary banking
brothers! Even if the whole world and the Court know that they are innocent, still justice cannot be done!
case of Ordinary people verses lawyer, verses financial institution backed by professional legal advisors who are considered
experts in the "lending" business, verses a sympathetic judge!
the Court ruled that the property has been “legally transferred” to the lawyer, then there is nothing for the
Bank to answer in Court. The Bank is in no obligation to return any money to the brothers even if it could
make a huge profit from selling the “gained” property, right?
if the property is deemed "legally" or technically transferred to the Lawyer, the Bank can only (legally and technically)
return any balance to the Lawyer and, if the lawyer is dead, to her family! There is no legal basis for the
Bank to return any money to the two brothers, who are "legally" no longer the rightful owners!
brothers' property should not be forcibly sacrificed in the Banks financial interest or for the Bank's oversight in legal
searches. In business, you either make profit or loss money. Business is subject to all kind of risks. No business should
profit through wrongful gain. The Banks are expected to take all the necessary precaution to prevent such losses.
this case, the Bank should conduct due deligent checks in that transaction because the lawyer had taken the mortgage only
as a co-owner. Common sense will tell anyone to check if the other owners are aware of the mortgage and to get them to sign
as guarantors, especially the beneficiary is the lawyer herself!
frightening! A fraudulent TKO (Technical Knock Out) in Singapore can obtain fortune! Wonder if anybody in authority
(or not in authority) would copy this same method of operation to legally and technically transfer a business empire to another
institution that could also claim to believe that there was nothing to show that they were at fault for approving the deal.
What if another lawyer had transferred properties belonging to the Bank or to the Judge to another financial institution?
How would they rectify the case?
is dangerous as it might send the wrong message that financial institutions can recover any debt owed to them so
long as debtors can obtain (even if by fraud) somebody else property as mortgage because it is deemed not necessary for
financial institution to check, verify and ensure actual ownership of a property!
the Court rules that Banks are not only "immune" to such fraudulent transaction so long as the legal title appeared to be
“technically” and legally executed or even if the property is obtained by fraud, Banks can also profit through
wrongful gain! The Court had failed to protect innocent people yet discriminate property owners against financial institution!
fact, under the CONVEYANCING AND LAW OF PROPERTY ACT (CHAPTER 61) 54, any fraudulent transfer of property is null and void.
conveyance to operate tortiously.
54. —(1) No conveyance of any kind shall operate to destroy, impair or affect any
estate or interest which the conveying party has no right to destroy, impair or affect or beyond the extent to which he may
impair or affect it.
is again reinforced under REGISTRATION OF DEEDS ACT (CHAPTER 269) (3):
All priorities given by this Act shall have full effect in all courts except in cases of actual fraud, to which the person
by or on whose behalf the registration is made is a party, and all persons claiming thereunder any legal or equitable interests
are entitled to corresponding priorities, and no such person shall lose any such priority merely in consequence of his having
been affected with actual or constructive notice except in cases of actual fraud to which he is a party.
the Law does not recognize fraud or wrongful gain! It is an offence to do so knowingly under (27)
27. Any person who —
abets the commission of an offence under this Act, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine
not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both.
the Court and the Bank are fully aware of the “fraud” and had accepted beyond reasonable doubt, that the property
was fraudulently transferred. They know that the brothers are innocent victims. The Court errs on the premise that the
Bank is not a party to the fraud and is therefore allowed to "gain" the property even when is wrongful! The question here
is not whether the Bank is innocent. They are not charging the Bank for fraud. The question is whether the Bank can profit
by wrongful gain.
Bank may not be aware of the "fraud" and had accepted beyond reasonable doubt, that the property was fraudulently transferred.
They know that the brothers are innocent victims. The Court errs on the premise that the Bank is not a party to the fraud
and is therefore allowed to "gain" the property even when is wrongful! The question here is not whether the Bank is
innocent. They are not charging the Bank for fraud. The question is whether the Bank can profit by wrongful gain.
Bank may not be aware of the fraud and is not a party in comitting the offence. In so far as the theft is concerned the Court
finds the Bnak innocent. However, this is not fraud where the owners is a party or privy to the fraud or had committed legal
mistakes or had been tricked to sign and transfer their property legally. The owners had played no part in it. It is about
theft! The Bank is dealing with stolen goods!
the first place, the transaction is totally void. Both Residential Property Act Chapter 274 (24) and Chapter 269 of Registration
of Deeds Act do not recognise fraudulent registration of property. As such the property cannot be transferred to the Bank
at all because in the first place the Lawyer had no ownership to that property!
in the ordinary business of the bank is just accepting legal documents and does not engage or rely on legal experts to help
them do the job, we can excuse the Bank for its mistake or failure to take extra precaution to do diligent checks on ownership
But, the Bank cannot plead ignorance because it must engage and rely on legal expert to check and verify ownership of property.
Such searches must be more thorough than merely verifying documents.
in tenancy matter, a 60-year-old woman who is really illiterate cannot claim ignorant if she is found to have accepted illegal
immigrant as her tenants. Both agents and Landlord cannot even claim that the documents produced by her tenant appeared genuine
and that they really have no reason to suspect forgery. Even if they had called to check with the Immigration Authority verbally,
both Agents and Landlord may still face the heavy penalty and/or jail term! Why? They have to show written proof of minimum
three due diligent checks! It is that onerous!
more when this is about ownership of property and matters that involve legal experts! Why or how it had failed to discover
the theft is of no fault of the property owner, really. It is the failure of the Bank in general and the oversight of its
solicitor in particular! Must they check with the co-owners?
Bank asserts its right to “confiscate” the stolen property, it will only reflect a total disregard
for justice and a smack of integrity. To put the blame on the misfortune of innocent party is to risk parading its own un-professionalism
and audacity in public! In doing so it will have knowingly committed an offence under CONVEYANCING AND LAW OF PROPERTY
ACT (CHAPTER 61)
Offences and penalties. Any person who —g) abets the commission of an offence under this Act, shall be guilty of an
offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years
or to both
it an offence to knowingly keep or retain stolen property? The lawyer stole the property yet the Bank is allowed to keep,
retain and sell the stolen property? This is like somebody had stolen a child and then “legally” transfers and
sells the baby to a buyer. Will the Court recognize the transfer of ownership? Will the Court return the baby to the parents
or just say “Sorry the baby has been properly and legally sold!
the Law has also just been tightened to ensure that second hand dealers do not claim ignorant to purchase of stolen scrap
maters. All transactions have to be carefully “screened” and properly
recorded. Money to be paid by cheque even if it is just for a dollar! Can the second hand dealer keep the stolen goods and be
allowed to sell the stolen property to compensate himself for his wrongful gain by claiming that there was nothing to
show that he was at fault for approving the deal now? This is already so onerous
regarding waste material that has little value and no legal title to ownership!
Bank is in business, not the property owner. The onus of responsibility lies with the Bank. The Sim brothers had already
been robed by the lawyer, how can we help the Bank "robe" the brothers a second time! How can JUSTICE be blinded by the
superficial appearance of the transaction and not recover the stolen goods and return it to the rightful owners? The Bank has to bear the business risk for accepting such transaction - not the innocent owners!
my opinion, the Court and the Bank should just go after the real culprit - the lawyer. What about the assets of the lawyer
and her family? Untouchable? The lawyer, her business, her family and the Bank should be asked to pay for the losses
and damages suffered by the brothers too.
the Court is right only as to the innocent of the Bank to the criminal act! But if the Bank now knowingly
continues to keep and possess the stolen goods, it becomes "involved" and in “abetting” the theft. It
is no longer innocent in the cause of damages and/or sufferance to the owners. What illegal business, scam, swindling case
and fraud are not “technically” or legally carried through legal lope holes? Where can you get justice done then?
the other hand, I think this is a good opportunity for the Bank to prove its honesty and integrity. Honesty and Integrity
verses $750,000! Come on, do what is right! However, if after knowing that a
theft has been committed and the Bank continues to play a part, the Bank would be committing a crime under Chapter
269, the Registration of Deeds Acts: So, how can the Court allow this to happen? Who would want to deal with a financial institution
that does not hesitate to profit through injustice but go all out to wrestle ill-gotten goods just to recover losses!
the brothers are party or privy to the omission, fraud or mistake in consequence of which the rectification is sought, or
has caused that omission, fraud or mistake or substantially contributed thereto by their act, neglect or default, under the
LAND TITLES ACT (CHAPTER 157) Rectification of land-register by court, the court can order under Section 160 (1) rectification
of the land-register by directing that the registration and fraudulent transfer be cancelled or amended under the following
where the court is satisfied that any registration or notification of an instrument has been obtained through fraud, omission
or mistake; or
where the court has declared that any instrument which purports to pass any estate or interest in any residential property
within the meaning of the Residential Property Act (Cap. 274) is also void under section 24 of that Act.
in the Fortuna case (ST 18 April 1997) where the lawyer had made a search confirming that all the signatories were Fontana
directors, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Lawyer still ought to have checked with Fontana if it had appointed him to act
instead of merely (same as in this case) relying on (documental evident) the resolution and the option. Justice Karthigesu
ruled that “the lawyer did not meet up to the standard required by him of a reasonably competent conveyancing solicitor
in Singapore and he should be held to have been in breach of his duty or care and skill to the appellants.” If the lawyer
had contacted Fontana, the fraudulent scheme would have been unraveled and the money would not have been released.
all these in their proper prospective, how can the title of the property be transferred by fraud to the lawyer and then wrongfully
gained by the Bank? Now, who is the real victim? Who the Court is helping? An
irony if the Court still cannot help. How will the Court of Appeal rule in this sympathetic case then? Will the brothers be
made to suffer more and asked to pay for all the legal fees?
an ordinary citizen I can only shout out my passing thought! It is unfair to the Sim brothers! Justice has not been done!
Do you agree? OMG! Before you sleep, please check if any lawyer had by mistake mortgaged or transferred your property to the
In any case, the indefeasibilty of registered title should not benefit the forger nor the Bank. It is in
the interest of the Bank in business to verify and ensure that it is dealing with the right party before parting its money. It
is its own negligence. The Bank is cheated by the forger not the victims! How heartless it is to recover your own mistake
and misfortune on innocent victims! Try doing it on Lee Kuan Yew lah! The judgement will be different!
Yes, we can not penalise a buyer if he had purchased a fraudulently obtained property on good faith
but the Bank is not a lay purchaser. It is an expert in money lending with a team of expert legal advisers ! How on earth
could they be cheated!
hindsight, we still can forgive lawyer Sivakolunthu
Thirunavukarasu. At least she knew that she was wrong and she had appologised. Probably she was driven by desperation to commit
On the other hand, the Bank and the Court knew that they were causing more harm
and sufferings to the innocent brothers, which they should not be doing, yet they chose to do what is against conscience
and what GOD would otherwise expect of good people!
The Bank claimed losses, went to Court, "CRIED" for JUSTICE, and
has no qualm to recover its losses from some innocent victims! The Court has no courage to render true
JUSTICE only to make the innocent Victims bleed more!
This is Singapore Justice! The Government should reverse the judement! A
Law should also be enacted to make it compulsory for one more requisition. Banks and Purchaser's solicitor must verify in
writing with the last known owner(s) that they are no longer the legal proprietors and that the property is to be mortgaged
or sold. Also, if any purchaser or beneficiry is a lawyer, a solicitor from the Law Society be appointed as the conveyancing
lawyer for the property. The Lawyer-Purchaser cannot act alone to transfer such property.
The case is opening a flood gate! Do we want to encourage mass illegal land transfer
and identity theft like in Malaysia? Just from 2001 to 2007, there were at least 253 cases! This same legal lope
hole is being exploited here! Illegal transfer once registered becomes indefeasible! This Bank had benefitted again!
(see another Maybank experience in Malaysia! http://www.cljlaw.com/public/cotw-090918.htm. PA was "false and forged
How to prevend your property from similar identity theft and illegal transfer?
Malaysia had too many such cases and they had come up with some very good ideas!
1) Besides putting your signatures on your title deed, they also suggest adding
your thumb print to make it difficult for fogery.
2) Check your property at the registry every 3 months. This is a bit tedious,
time consuming and expensive.
3) Lodge a 6 year caveat using your parents or children as the interesteded parties