Thursday, April 15, 2021

Gam Housing Estate Agency Slammed by its Victims

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Lamin Mboge, the Chief Executive Officer of Gam Housing Real Estate Company is at the centre of accusation by over 30 people who accused him of collecting money from them and failing to honour the agreement he had with them.

There is an online campaign by the customers of Gam Housing demanding for their monies because he has failed to allocate them their lands. The victims have active social media platforms both on Whatsapp and Facebook where they discuss what they called their victimisation and the way forward.

All the customers who reached out to Foroyaa produced copies of their contract with Gam Housing, receipts of payments made and other documents. They alleged that the company has failed to allocate them any lands. Mboge’s company is facing several litigations before the courts.

The estate company provided some of the victims with transfer of ownership document, but failed to allocate land to them. When the customers cried out, the available option was usually relocation against what has been agreed upon in the contract. All the victims said the relocation offer that the company made was a cover up as it made offers when they were under pressure.

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Fatou Bittaye was using her sister’s (who was on studies in Mauritius monthly stipend) to purchase a plot of land for her at Gam Housing estate in Sanyang – in town. She purchased 2 lands in Sanyang and 1 in Manduar making it three lands in total. After completing the payment, Bittaye was told the Sanyang estate had a dispute and the matter was in court. She was offered relocation to Jam City estate and after the site visit; she declined the offer because she did find the place suitable and demanded to be refunded.

“I insisted to be refunded the money, but they were not ready to give me back the money,” she said.

Bittaye was offered relocation to Kitty and this time she accepted. She said the demarcation was done and when she went back to Gam Housing office, the officer informed her that Kitty estate was full; that the land she was allocated belonged to another person.

Bittaye was again offered relocation to Penyeme but she declined the offer and renewed her demand for a refund. Bittaye said Gam Housing hasn’t refunded her and each time she went there, she found the office closed.

Like Bittaye’s brother, Bittaye is also a victim of Gam Housing. She said her husband, who at the time of purchasing the land was not working, invested his resources to purchase a plot at the Manduar estate.

Fatou Bittaye

“My husband bought the land for me. He was working and was one of the staff who was made redundant by his employers. He used the money his employers gave him as settlement to buy the land for me,” she said.

Bittaye said until today, she is not given the land or money by Gam Housing.

One Mommy Sowe paid two hundred thousand dalasi (D200,000) for land in Sanchaba, D150,000 for a plot of land in Sukuta as well as a 7 passenger vehicle and a Benz 240 for another plot.

Mommy sowe

“I was not allocated any land after making the payments. Gam Housing is involved in swindling people when they know they have no lands to give out,” Sowe said.

One Ousman Bojang, who said he is the second eldest man in the Bojang Kunda clan, said he is not aware of Mboge owning any part of their land which he is selling out to people. Bojang said Mboge should be able to tell the people how he came to own their land because as far as he is concerned, the land still belongs to their clan.

The Alkalo of Brikama Jamisa where the purported Gam Housing Estate is situated said the land belongs to the Bojang Kunda and the Samata Clan, adding he is not aware of any transaction between the community and Gam Housing.

“Mboge is running away from me now. He owes me money because I have stamped for many people and he did not complete the payment. I am still looking for him,” Mr Jatta said.

The Alkalo said Mboge has stopped bringing people to him.

“I am also looking for Mboge. Do you know where he is?” the Alkalo asked our reporter, adding Mboge wouldn’t pick his calls whenever he tries calling him.

The operation of the real estate sector remains unregulated in The Gambia and many people have become victims of swindling by some estate companies.

Often, customers enter into contracts with Gam Housing, complete payment but they won’t be allocated plots land of land in accordance with the agreement.

After completing payment, Mboge’s company would issue customers with only receipts of payment. Customers often have to move heaven and earth to get sales agreement, deed of conveyance and transfer papers among other relevant documents.

Mboge was asked to respond to the allegations by his customers but he decided not to honour the chance given to him by our reporter on several accounts. The only comment Mboge made was that his trying all he could to relocate the customers who purchased land from him at locations that are in dispute. He blamed the Government for the land problems for not having property land management system in place. He pointed out that the Department of Physical Planning should be able to have proper records for lands in place  to remedy the land problems in the Kombos.

Mboge went ahead to explain that there is one Amigu Jeng claiming ownership of Gam Housing Estate in Brufut-Madiana. He said the land was sold to him by one Bully Sanneh.

“We owned all the lands we are are selling. We have ownership,” Mboge said.

He said he is trying to reachout to the affected customers to come back for him to give them other plots free from dispute.

Many customers who are victims of his activities said Mboge does not have any lands to give to them. Some of them accepted relocation but when they started developing their plots, they were stopped by some people who informed them that Gam Housing does not own the land.

Some customers who have troubles with real estate companies resort to civil action before the courts which usually take years before judgment is delivered.

Many people have faulted the Consumer Protection and the Competition Acts for not containing provisions that adequately address complaints by consumers who have troubles with real estate companies.

Gambia Competition and Consumer Protection Commission was created by Government through an Act of Parliament to deal with consumer issues which cover both goods and services.

The aforesaid Commission started to study the activities of Real Estate Companies two years ago in response to complaints by customers, who complained that they were being treated badly by the said companies.

Experts hold the view that the dubious activities of swindlers in the Real Estate Sector were fuelled by the lack of a regulatory instrument and body to regulate the industry.

Several victims of the Estate Agencies have lodged complaints with the Commission, and that was why the Competition body deemed it prudent to commission a study on the activities of the players in the said sector to ascertain the abuses that happen in the real estate industry.

Mboge was contacted by Foroyaa and he has vehemently denied the claims by his customers saying they do not understand how real estate business operates in the Gambia.

“All the lands we are selling belong to us. The problem of the land tenure system in Kombo is not easy – we all know,” Mboge said.

Mboge, according to all the victims has no lands to give out, but would proceed to collect their monies in a very deceitful manner.

“You can watch your citizens suffer in the hands of swindlers who are busy amassing wealth from citizens. Gam Housing is involved in swindling and there should an end to this,” one Fatou Jagne said.

The change of Government gave rise to the coming of several real estate companies, but the sector remains unregulated.

Chilel Conteh said she entered a contract with Gam Housing in 2018 to purchase a plot of land at their Tujereng estate and began making payment in the same year until December 2019 when she completed the payment. Conteh said even though she completed her payment, she is yet to get her land. She said her younger brother Bubacar Cham and one of her maternal uncles Ma Sisoho residing in Finland were also paying for plots at the same real estate company, but they stopped payments after she narrated her encounter with Gam Housing to them.

Conteh said one of her brothers Abdoulie Cham was the one making the payments to the company on their behalf.

Conteh was allocated plot number 93 at the Tujereng Estate by Gam Housing. The land measures 20 by 25 meters and was costing D160,000. On the 15th April 2019, she deposited the sum of D50,000 to Gam Housing, on the 16th January 2019 she made payment of D10,000, on the 7th March 2018 she paid D45,000, on the 11th July 2018 she paid D3000, on the 10th October 2018 she paid D3500 and on the 24th October 2019, she made the payment of D48,500.  

“After completing the payment, I came to realise that they took my money when they knew they don’t have any lands to give me,” she said.

The resident of Sanchaba Sulay Jobe said she worked for the money under horrible weather condition abroad.

“Our hard earn monies should not go in vain. It is not fair. We want our money back and we still

“We want justice. The victims are more than you can imagine. The Government should do something about this,” she said.

Abdou Njie, a resident of Old Jeshwang who is working at the Bansang health facility entered into agreement with Gam Housing for a plot in Kitty village to be paid between 3 to 5 years. He deposited ten thousand dalasis and was depositing every month two thousand dalasis and at times, three or four thousand dalasi.

“I have already deposited over twenty thousand dalasis and I was informed that the plot was sold to another person. The person has already erected a structure there. I don’t know how best to go about the issue,” Njie said.

Njie said he is worried over the situation adding CEO Mboge is always unreachable whenever he calls him with his cell phone numbers.

Njie paid an initial deposit of D10,000, D3500 was paid on the 9th August 2019, D3000 was paid on the 27th February 2019 and D4000 was paid on the 9th May 2019.

Tijan Jobarteh said he made his down payment in 2017 and finished in 2019. Jobarteh asserted that he was initially allocated a land at Brikama Jamisa for D85,000, but after completing the payment he was informed that the land was in dispute and was relocated to Kitty. Jobarteh was given a new contract.

“I have been following them to give me the Alkali transfer and all other relevant documents, but I couldn’t get it,” Jobarteh said.

He stated that at the time of allocating the plot in Kitty to him, only two plots were remaining – ‘I took one plot.’

“I see them taking people there when they know that they don’t have any plots to give out. They are trying to deceive people but they don’t have any land to give out in Kitty,” Jobarteh said.

Jobarteh said he is still pursuing them to get his documents, but Gam Housing hasn’t given him the documents.

Jobarteh deposited D3000 on the 4th September 2017,  D3000 on the 7th November 2017, D4000 was deposited on the 27th September 2018, D5000 was deposited on 28th November 2018, D5000 was paid on the 1st March 2019, D6000 was paid on the 1st April 2019, D5000 was paid on 2nd January 2019, D2500 was paid on the 27th February 2019, D1000 was paid on the 11th May 2018, D5000 was paid on 1st August 2018, D9500 was paid on 27th August 2018, D20,000 was paid on 22nd May 2017, D3000 was paid on 28th June 2017, D3000 was paid on 26th July 2017, D5000 was paid on 29th January 2018 and D5000 was paid on 24th December 2018 for plot number 9 of the Gam Housing estate at Brikama Misira. He was allocated plot number 10 at the Kitty estate.

Tijan Jobarteh

Awa Baldeh made an initial payment of D62,500 as an advance payment for plot number 80 at Gam Housing estate at Brufut-Madiana measuring 22 by 22 meters. The agreed price for the plot was D250,000 which she completed.

“I have completed the payment but until today I have not been allocated any land or given any proper documents,” she said.

The resident of Tabokoto began payment in 2019 and was able to complete the payment within four months. The land Baldeh purchased measured 22 by 22 meters located in Jambur.

“I rejected Mboge’s offer to relocate me to somewhere and he said he is not going to refund me,” Baldeh said.

Edward Coker completed the mortgage payment on the 18h December 2019 and was given transfer of ownership document on the 1st March 2020 for a plot measuring 20 by 25 meters in Sanyang village by Gam Housing.

“I was told by Gam Housing that the land was under dispute and they said they will relocate me to another site. This never happened. I have been trying to reach the CEO for months, but he always ignores my calls or when he receives them, he gives excuses,”Coker said.

Abubacar Ceesay purchased a plot of land at the Gam Housing estate in Sanyang after which he came to realise that the dealers have no lands there to give out. He was issued with alkalo transfer in May 2019.

Abubacarr Ceesay

“I was given the alkalo transfer,” Ceesay said.

Ceesay was taken to their estate in Jambanjelly with the intention of relocating him, but he informed the dealers that he was not interested in that estate.

“I requested for refund of my money. They agreed to refund me after I signed a refund agreement with them,” he said.

The young man said the agreement was that every Friday Gam Housing will give him D10,000.

“I was given D10,000 for the first Friday. The second and third Friday they failed to give me anything. I was given another D10,000 on the fourth Friday,” Ceesay said.

“I cannot get my land and I cannot get my money back. It is too frustrating,” he said.

The refund agreement stated that Ceesay would be given back the sum of D48,000 within 45 days.

“I am confused right now. I worked very hard to invest in this. I don’t know what to do,” he said.

Ceesay claimed that he still has an outstanding sum of D40,000 with the estate company.

Sheikh Tijan Sallah bought his land from Gam Housing on the 23rd May 2017 and he was issued with a contract document. He purchased plot numbers 71 for himself and plot numbers 74 and 75 for two of his brothers in Dubai, UAE for D85,000 each.

Sallah completed the payments within six months and he was issued with transfer papers for all the lands.

SHEIKH TIJAN SALLAH

“The land was surveyed and demarcated by one man Mr Sowe,” Sallah said.

The architecture specialist said after the demarcation, he began clearing the land and some people came there and asked him to stay away from the place because it belongs to them. Sallah said he called Sowe who informed him that the land was under dispute.

“Sowe told me to stay away from the land,” Sallah said.

Sallah said Mboge suggested for transfer to Kitty where he has another estate.

“I told him to refund me my money,” Sallah said.

Sallah said the value of land at Brikama and Kitty were not the same and he chose not to relocate to Kitty as he demanded for his money from Gam Housing.

Sallah’s brothers Omar and Bubacar Keita are also victims of Gam Housing and are facing the same problems.

Awa Mbye said she purchased two plots of land from Gam Housing estate in Sanyang and her aunty bought another making it three plots. Mbye is a Gambian based in the United States who purchased the land to develop it.

“I came to The Gambia intending to stay for six weeks, but I ended up staying for over two months. I have to cancel my flight. Mboge was running away from me and I later understood that he has no lands to give out,” she said.

Mbye made her down payment in 2017. She said Mboge was reluctant to give her the land documents in 2017 and 2018. In December 2019, Mbye came back to the Gambia for six weeks but ended up staying over two months.

“I used to stay at Mboge’s office from morning till evening every day trying to get my documents but he refused to give me the documents,” she said.

She said the duration she stayed in the Gambia affected her job and school.

“It was so crazy,” Mbye said.

She said she was transferred to Tujereng at Gam Housing estate and this was when she went back to the USA. Upon her return in December 2019, she went to the site and was told by residents that Mboge owns no land there.

Mariama Danso said she was making payment on behalf of her brother in-law for a plot of land at the Gam Housing Gunjur estates.

“It is three years now I cannot get the land. Any time I go to their office, they will come up with a different story and I have been relocated to different places but nothing changed,” she said.

She explained that her brother in-law came to the Gambia purposely to get his land but for one month he couldn’t set his eyes on Mboge. Akeni Kwaku Tenkemenin, the brother in-law went back without getting back his money or the land.

“Until today we are struggling with Mboge to get back our money or land,” Danso said.

Mariama Danso

Lamin A. Saidy said he was paying for plot number 21 at Gam Housing estate at Brufut Phase 2. He stopped after seeing the social media campaign and began making enquiries into the activities of Gam Housing after which he came to realise that the allegations were true. He has already deposited D60,000 for the plot valued at D200,000 measuring 20 by 20 meters.

Lamin A. Saidy

Ramou Faye Jallow said he entered a contract with Gam Housing for the purchase of a plot of land costing D150,000. She deposited D97,000 remaining a balance of D53,000.  Ramou said she was informed by Gam Housing that the land has a problem and offered she was offered relocation to Kitty.

Ramou said she was staying in a North African country where she struggled to get this money under a hard atmosphere.

Ramatoulie Faye Jallow

“They used to torture people there. The country was very cold but I managed to work under the hardship,” she said.

She said after investing in the land, Gam Housing are now refusing to pick her calls and she does not know what to do now.

“I don’t have my land and I don’t have my money,” she said.

Ablie Jallow paid thirty thousand dalasis (D30,000) for a plot of land in Manduar to Gam Housing in 2017. The resident of London Corner was issued an alkali transfer on the 8th August 2018, but since then he was not shown or given his land.

“I was not expecting this. It is very sad that he is using the name Gam representing the Gambia,” Jallow said.

Many victims reach out to Fatou Jagne who is the lead campaigner in pursuit for justice. We will continue to follow the development and report on them.

Read: https://foroyaa.net/gam-housing-ceo-responds-to-critics/

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