In yesterday’s news, we told you about the major legal worries for former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega and his family, after a Belizean residing in Belmopan, Amy Forte, went public that her name and signature appear on land documents fraudulently.
Forte’s name appears on a Minister’s Grant Fiat No. 175 of 2009 which declares her the purchaser and new owner of a parcel of land in Caye Caulker Village bought for $2,500 from the Ministry of Natural Resources. Another document, a Deed of Conveyance dated February 17th 2010 indicates that she then transferred the title to Andre Vega, who is the former Minister’s son, for $30,000. But Forte, through a letter from her attorney to the Prime Minister and a release to the press, has indicated that she has never owned land, did not know about the Minister’s Fiat Grant document and doesn’t even know Andre Vega. Having become aware of such documents, Forte hired a handwriting expert, who has confirmed to her that her signatures on the files were forged. In her letter to the PM, she requests action to be taken on whoever used her name to commit fraud.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow had only days ago addressed the leaked land documents which showed the Vega family amassing wealth through land. He said he didn’t need to go through the documents, since what he saw on the news provided no actionable illegality. But with Forte’s declaration, as we expected, the circumstances have changed drastically.
That was confirmed by a press release from the office of the Prime Minister, indicating that he has asked the Belize Police Department to conduct an immediate investigation into the matter with a view to bringing criminal charges against any person or persons responsible for forgery. In addition, the P.M has ordered that the Lands Department move to cancel both Grant no. 175 of 2009 and the Deed of Conveyance to Andre Vega dated 17th February 2010. As well, the Department will cancel the title for 7 acres on Mosquito Caye granted to Andre Vega as compensation for the fact that the land under Grant no 175 of 2009 was privately owned at the time of the Minister’s purported Grant and subsequent transactions.
Now, that’s a major shift from the PM’s earlier position and Forte’s declarations of the fraudulent use of her name has triggered yet another Vega land scandal.