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 Fake companies a growing phenomenon in Sulaimaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan

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Fake companies a growing phenomenon in Sulaimaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan  23.6.2012  

Diya City, Sulaimaniyah, Kurdistan region of Iraq. Photo: Bareaz Group
June 23, 2012

SULAIMANIYAH, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Three citizens accidentally uncovered a fake company in Sulaimaniyah when they signed a contract to buy a house in Diya City, a residential compound built by the Barez Company.

Yaseen Mahmood Rasheed, executive director of Barez, says, “An Iranian company with the help of a few Sulaimaniyah residents set up a fake company, selling housing units built by other companies.”

Rasheed said that the three citizens were sold houses in the Diya City complex after paying $65,000 and filling out applications. It was only when the citizens visited Barez that they found out the company they had been dealing with didn’t exist. Barez has filed a complaint.

“These companies take the money and leave Kurdistan. The money will be gone,” said Rasheed, pointing to the weakness of security forces and the investment board in this regard. He suggested residents of the Kurdistan Region not sign contracts with housing companies on their own.

Capt. Sarkawt Ahmed, spokesperson for the Sulaimaniyah police department, confirmed the story, saying, “We have arrested two people who sold housing units from other companies. The third person is an Iranian citizen and has escaped, but an arrest warrant has been issued.”

Rasheed added, “We provided the name of the fake investor to the security forces. The ‘investor’ told people that one of the housing projects, which belongs to another company, was his and tried to sell the units.”

A source from the security forces told Rudaw, “Whenever we are given a name, we investigate the name and the claims. Besides that, we investigate advertisements made to sell housing units.”

Aziz Saeed, supervisor of investment projects at the Board of Investment-Sulaimaniyah, says the presence of the fake companies in the city has become a phenomenon. He described one of the most recent fake companies, Balinda, which did not have a license from the board.

“Balinda was advertising for a housing project under the name Greenland Houses,” Saeed said. “The company was taking people to the housing projects of other companies in order to get them to sign a contract with Balinda.”

According to the Board of Investment-Sulaimaniyah, there are currently only nine housing projects in the city. Owners of housing project companies are now worried that fake companies will sell their units to people and create problems for them.

Capt. Abdulkarim, with the investigation department of the security forces, says they receive many reports on this issue. “According to our investigations, some of the reports are correct,” he said. “There are companies working on one project but advertising for three.”

The spokesperson of the Kurdistan Investors Union believes the increasing number of fake companies in Sulaimaniyah is dangerous. He warns that if thorough investigations are not carried out, the phenomenon will spread to other parts of Kurdistan.

“They counterfeit investment contracts in order to get people to believe them,” he said, noting how easy it is for people to be deceived.

Farman Ghareeb, director of the Sulaimaniyah Investment Board, says, “It is a disaster that our forms and applications are copied and counterfeited.” Ghareeb asks people not to sign any contracts with companies they have doubts about before consulting with the board.

According to the Kurdistan Presidency Reform Committee, housing companies have to finish 10 percent of their project before they can advertise.

However, Rasheed says, “Some contractors violate this law and get people to sign contracts before they even start the project.”

By Nawzad Mahmoud

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