By Yankuba Jallow
Some customers of Solid Properties Real Estate Company have accused the latter of swindling them.
Solid Properties is a registered real estate company that has estates in different parts of the country. Recently, some of their customers have accused them of cheating them.
The Customers accused the company of providing fake mobile phone numbers on their fliers which according to Mr Baboucar Bittaye, the General Manager, is an administrative lapse. He admitted the numbers on the fliers they are using are not working.
“It is an administrative lapse. I came here in 2017. The mobile numbers belong to the former employees of the company,” Bittaye said.
Asked how soon those numbers would be replaced with correct phone numbers, Bittaye said it will be taken care of. He was quick to say their customers should come to their office to collect the correct numbers.
Saiga Sowe purchased a plot of land from the real estate company at their Brikama Estate and was provided with an Alkalo transfer. In the Gambia, Alkalo transfers are not official transfers. One needs to get official transfers from other agencies.
“I have tried the company to give me clearance, but they still did not give me. The Department of Physical Planning also refused to give me clearance,” Sowe said.
He paid D150,000 for two plots each costing D75,000, adding he felt like the company scammed him. He said he completed his payment in 2018 and he could not still access his plot.
One Ebrima Ceesay paid 142,000 for two plots of land in Jambanjelly
“This is a typical real estate scam happening in The Gambia,” he said.
He said it took the company almost a year and a half to get him an Alkalo transfer.
“I offered to pay for the Alkalo transfer because they said they have issues with money. I paid D5000 for the Alkalo paper,” Ceesay said.
He said even after getting the Alkalo transfer, the company is yet to show him the plots of land he paid for.
“I even offered to use my vehicle and fuel it to go with them to do the demarcation, but they still cannot show me my land,” Ceesay said.
Ebrima Jallow purchased a land from them, completed payment and was allocated a plot. He said after the allocation, pegs were put around the land to show that demarcation has taken place in the area. He said he went to the Department of Physical Planning to get clearance and permit to build. He added that he also went to the Brikama Area Council who also refused to give him clearance.
Modou Salieu Sallah, Abdoulie Bah, Ebrima Sallah, Ramatoulie Salah, Algasim Jallow, Sarjo Bojang and Ebrima Jallow, said they are yet to be allocated plots of land by Solid Properties even though they have honoured their payment plan with the Company.
They all said they have lost contact with the company. Others who have direct contact with some employees of the company, say the employees do not reply to their messages or return their calls.
Mbasireh Saidybah said he began payment for a property in 2014. She said she had already paid fourteen thousand dalasi to Solid Properties. She added that she got into an accident and decided to opt out of the contract she had with Solid Properties. She said she informed the company about her intention to terminate the contract. She was told she has to pay a penalty which she accepted. The penalty according to her was D4000; adding she was only entitled to get back D10000 from her, total deposit of D14000.
“I have been following them all these years for my refund but they have not given me. The last time I heard from them was in January 2020,” she said.
She provided Foroyaa with details of her conversation with Mr Bittaye, the General Manager of Solid Properties who promised to settle her. She said she has been to the Solid Properties Office a couple of times, but she is still not refunded.
In an exclusive interview with this paper, General Manager Bittaye said their Makumbaya estate has a problem because it was encroached by a group of people. He said their company has 293 plots in the area and they only managed to sell 30 plots there, adding the other plots were either sold or given away by one Lamin Jarju. Bittaye said their company purchased the land from four families and secured all the required documents. He said they have sued Lamin Jarjue and others before the Kombo North District Tribunal.
“I think people should be a little bit patient with us. We want to ensure there is justice in this case and this is why we are following the law,” he said.
He said the customers who have issues with their properties or plots should come to their office to discuss with them the way forward. On the Brikama Estate, he said the land is ‘clean’ and they have sold plots to people who already began developing houses in the area. For one to build the person needs a permit to build and in doing so, the person is required to produce proper title. However, the customers who contacted Foroyaa said the company does not have any proper documentation for the land. They said they cannot develop the land because of the lack of clearance.
Bittaye said the company will help anyone who has issues with their lands as he urged them to come forward to discuss with him.