No title? Chassis number altered? Don't buy that vehicle!

Tell Claudienne

With Claudienne Edwards

Saturday, August 01, 2015

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Dear Claudienne,

I purchased a 1993 Nissan King Cab motor truck in 1996. I accompanied the vendor to the Black River Collector of Taxes to effect the sale and transfer into my name in September 1996. Since then I have made many trips to the Black River collectorate to collect my title, but they told me it was not there.

I have received many offers from people wanting to purchase my pickup but I'm unable to sell it as I do not have a title for the vehicle.

An officer at the Black River collectorate told me several times that the paperwork was done and I would soon get the title as they had someone working on it at the Kingston Office.

Eventually I was told that the lady who was working on it could not be found.

Every year the tax office would license the vehicle. However, after the new computerised system was introduced, in 2011 I was told to go to the Mandeville collectorate and reapply for the title. For a while Mandeville continued to license the pickup truck, but by January 2012 it had become difficult and costly to get the vehicle licensed as the new system required me to produce the title as proof of ownership.

The Black River Tax Office told me that I would have to go to Kingston to get the vehicle licensed. They gave me a copy of a memo that they were sending to the head office of the Collector
of Taxes. It stated in part: "Please facilitate the licensing of the motor truck captioned above. The motor truck was transferred to CS at our office in September 1996. The application for title has not yet been processed; CS has met all conditions for her title to be processed and her application has been forwarded to our motor vehicle registry and we are in dialogue with them to have the application processed."

The latest communication from the tax office stated that I could not get a title as the title for my motor truck was in another name. I have never heard such utter rubbish.
Just imagine, after owning, driving and operating this vehicle since 1996 (over 16 years) to be told I basically need to park it and walk, and they won't be able to license it any more.

I am not a young girl. I am over 60 and would have to start all over. This is all I have. What do I do? How do I proceed? Your help in this matter would be highly appreciated.

CS

Dear CS,

When Tell Claudienne asked Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) to investigate and clarify why you were not able to obtain a title for the Nissan King Cab motor truck, TAJ advised us that their research showed that the vehicle appeared to have been stolen.

TAJ said that they were turning over the matter to
the police so that further investigations could be done.

After the police took over the investigation in 2013, a police team from the Flying Squad, now called the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC), seized the motor truck from your premises in St Elizabeth on June 18, 2013 and took a statement from you.

Since then, whenever Tell Claudienne tried to get an update on the police investigations, we were told that the matter was still being investigated. We wrote to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of National Security on May 5, 2015 for clarification on how this matter could be resolved.

On Friday July 24 the Ministry sent us copies of correspondence they had received from the Jamaica Constabulary Force. According to one of the letters, the vehicle was purchased by 'GP' in April 1995 for J$360,000.00 through a loan from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). The vehicle was comprehensively insured with ICWI. On the morning of July 19, 1996, GP's brother parked the vehicle at the Liguanea Club parking lot and "securely locked same". The motor truck was stolen from the parking lot.

The police have not been able to find the man who sold you the vehicle that you partially paid for by manager's cheque.

One of the police letters to the Permanent Secretary stated the following:

"On August 12, 1996 an application was made by CS at the Black River Tax Office to have the vehicle transferred to her. Despite being given a Motor Vehicle Registration Certificate for the said vehicle, CS was unable to obtain a motor vehicle certificate for the said vehicle."

Investigations by the (C-TOC) (Flying Squad) showed that ICWI "paid the sum of $560,000.00 to CIBC as compensation for the theft of the vehicle, and by virtue of ICWI indemnifying the insured, ICWI is now the owner of the motor truck."

Police enquiries at the Tax Payer Registration Number (TRN) office have not been able to locate the person who sold you (CS) the vehicle. The police have also tried to obtain a copy of the NCB manager's cheque that you gave to the vendor as payment for the motor truck, but the bank informed them that the retention period for a manager's cheque is seven years and that the cheque had been destroyed.

The police have also made telephone contact with a truck driver in Canada who allegedly introduced the vendor to you, but he told them that he did not know the whereabouts of the vendor.

The police have informed the Permanent Secretary that they have recommended that the motor truck be scrapped. The decision to scrap the vehicle is based on the following police statement:

"On Wednesday, September 18, 2013, a forensic examination was conducted on the said Nissan King Cab motor truck, which revealed the engine number and the vehicle identification number (VIN) plate are intact; however, the chassis number is tampered with and cannot be restored.

On Wednesday, October 30, 2013, the said motor truck was transported from the Pedro Plains Police Station to a storage area in Kingston where it was parked for safe keeping pending further investigations.

Based on the foregoing it is difficult to determine true ownership of the vehicle, therefore it is recommended that the vehicle be deregistered and given to CS to be disposed of as scrap metal."

You may wish to contact the police for additional information.

Good luck.

Have a problem with a store, utility, a company? Telephone 936-9436 or write to: Tell Claudienne c/o Sunday Finance, Jamaica Observer, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5; or e-mail: edwardsc@jamaicaobserver.com. Please include a contact phone number.

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