Business

Scrap hopes of registering stolen vehicle

TELL Claudienne

Claudienne Edwards

Sunday, October 29, 2017



The following is an update on the issue of a stolen Nissan King Cab, first addressed in August 2015.

Dear Claudienne,

More than two years have passed since the police seized my 1993 Nissan King Cab motor truck and recommended that it should be deregistered and scrapped, but my efforts to get information about the process of deregistration have been futile.

I purchased the 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 September1996. However, after making several trips to the tax office at the Black River collectorate, I was informed that the title was not there.

Eventually 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. We are in dialogue with them to have the application processed.”

In 2014 the tax office informed me that I could not get a title because the title for my motor truck bore another person's name.

Just imagine: After owning, driving and operating this vehicle since 1996, I was being told that I basically needed to park it and walk, because they would no longer be able to license it.

Subsequent investigations by the police determined that the vehicle had been stolen, and the police then recommended that it be deregistered and scrapped.

I am very frustrated, because everything I did was above board. I did not know that the vehicle had been stolen.

Please assist me to find out how the vehicle can be deregistered and returned to me for scrapping.

CS

Dear CS,

When Tell Claudienne asked Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) to investigate and clarify why you were unable to obtain a title for your vehicle, TAJ said 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.

Details of the police investigations were set out in a letter dated July 9, 2015 from the office of the Commissioner of Police (CP) to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Security. According to police investigations, the original owner of the vehicle purchased it in April 1995 for $360,000 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, the original owner'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, which you partially paid for by manager's cheque.

The police letter 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 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 letter to the PS further stated:

“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 safekeeping 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 told Tell Claudienne that you have been unable to find out how to get the motor truck deregistered and returned to you for scrapping. You said that when you asked to speak to the Superintendent of Police who had been in charge of the investigation, you were told that he had retired. You said that you subsequently received a phone call from the superintendent who had replaced him.

This superintendent told you: “I will look into the matter and get back to you,” but you said he never did.

Tell Claudienne asked the office of the Commissioner of Police (CP) to outline the process for deregistering the vehicle and returning it to you to be scrapped.

We were told that the Legal Affairs Division of that office would be asked to recommend what action should be taken.

The decision of the Legal Affairs Division was sent to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of National Security on October 11, and reads as follows:

“The Legal Affairs Division determined that the question of ownership appears moot, as the vehicle was owned by Ms GP and was stolen on July 19, 1996 about 7:30 am. The insured was indemnified and compensated by the Insurance Company of the West Indies (ICWI) in the sum of $560,000. In light of the indemnity, ICWI would assume ownership.

Tax Administration Jamaica Cross Roads Branch was contacted and they indicated that the deregistration of a vehicle was a process that can only be initiated by an order from the court, and subsequent to the deregistration the vehicle has to be destroyed.”

The foregoing implies that the vehicle will not be returned to you for scrapping.

However, if you intend to buy another second-hand vehicle, please ensure that a thorough probe is done of the engine and chassis numbers.

We wish you all the best.

Have a problem with a store, utility or 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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