Builders who do not complete projects face clampdown

As many as five cases of developers absconding have been referred to public prosecutors.

Ajman, 29th June 2009.  On this site will rise Marmooka City.  (Jeffrey E Biteng / The National) *** Local Caption ***  JB03-Marmooka.jpgBZ20JL MARMOOKA.jpg
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AJMAN // Property regulators are clamping down on building contractors who fail to meet their commitments, a senior official said yesterday. Omar al Barguthi, the director general of the Ajman Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Arra), said the biggest disputes between investors and developers recently had involved developers absconding. As many as five such cases have been referred to public prosecutors, he said.

However, Arra planned to pursue them using warrants issued through Interpol. The Ajman Government would also buy into projects to protect investors. "Our first approach to the disputes is mediation," Mr al Barguthi said. "We ask each side to refer to the contract and find a solution. "Our problem is when a developer fails to meet the commitment, closes his office and runs out of the country. Then we have no option but to hand it to police."

The Government has already bought three troubled projects in the Marmooka City development on Emirates Road. Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, the Ruler of Ajman, ordered the Government to intervene to ensure that they were finished on time, Mr al Barguthi said. Over-eager investors were to blame in some cases, he added. Many bought buildings without knowing their locations, while others put faith in false advertisements without verifying their accuracy.

"One misleading advert was urging people to buy property in Ajman and get a visa for life in a European Union country," Mr al Barguthi said. Commenting on the impact of the continuing power crisis in the emirate, Mr al Barguthi said it had helped developers to become more creative. "We have got proposals from developers seeking to build solar-powered towers," he said. "There is also a proposal [from] one developer seeking to use a German technology to power high-rise buildings using wind."