Court Orders LTA To Pay $133,900 In Damages
The High Court has in Suva ordered the Land Transport Authority and former employee Elina Ledua to pay damages of $133,900 to Sahid Begg after a bulldozer owned by him was wrongfully transferred to a third party.
The matter was heard before Judge Justice Deepthi Amaratunga.
Mr Begg in his evidence said that he had never transferred the ownership of the vehicle to Manos Jeet.
He said that Manos Jeet desired purchasing it and an agreement to purchase was signed.
It was further stated in court that according to that agreement, Mr Begg gave physical possession of the vehicle and there was a requirement for monthly payments. However, Manos Jeet failed to keep up with the monthly payments, hence he repossessed the vehicle.
The court heard that Mr Begg got to know that the vehicle was already under a Bill of Sale to a finance institution and that this was done by Manos Jeet after obtaining a transfer of the vehicle in his name.
Mr Begg had informed the court that the transfer was done without his knowledge, hence he had not signed the transfer documents.
The court noted that Ms Ledua had transferred the vehicle in pursuant to the application and had failed to verify the ‘Certificate of Witness’ which was part three of the application.
“I do not expect a person like Ms Ledua, should forensically examine every application and reject for slightest and flimsiest reason,” Justice Amaratunga said.
“My judgement is that non detection of such finer details which were not even detected by the detective police personnel, proves neither negligence nor tort of Ms Ledua.”
Ms Ledua had admitted that the verification of part three was important and that she should have verified part three of the transfer document.
She said that due to her health condition and workload, she mistakenly did not verify it for that particular application.
Justice Amaratunga said: “Manos Jeet used the said certificate of transfer to misrepresent the financial institution to obtain finance and also to execute a Bill of Sale in favour of them.
“Manos Jeet defaulted payments to the financial institution and they had executed the rights under the Bill of Sale and auctioned the vehicle, thus deprived the benefits from the vehicle to Mr Begg.
“As an officer of LTA it is the duty of Ms Ledua to make sure that any vehicle being transferred was transferred in accordance with the procedures of LTA and due care should be taken to prevent wrongful transfers.”
Edited by Rusiate Mataika