This refers to 'How can this happen?' (GDN, August 7). Well start with Baksheesh. According to Google, Baksheesh is part and parcel of the culture in the Middle East, as many off-plan apartment buyers have found to their cost from greedy project owners.
Amwaj Gateway, Juffair Heights, Durrat, Marina Reef, Marina West, Riffa Views, Villamar to name but a few, were each given full approval by all authorities.
Today thousands of expats and locals, having invested millions of dinars into the Bahrain economy, are still awaiting delivery of their unfinished apartments or villas, several years after their scheduled completion date.
The authorities are well aware of stalled projects (GDN Archives 2-8-2010 Ministry quote on CRs) yet no one seems capable of dealing with this fraudulent practice. The common response from authorities to those who have been defrauded is go to the courts. Well that gives everyone two extra years to think about how to solve this problem.
The commonly accepted view with so many stalled projects here in Bahrain is the problem is too complex to solve; but it's not if its broken down into its constituent parts, analysed, audited, then the solution is evident but only applicable to an individual project.
Several solutions within a two-page report on completing the Marina West stalled project was sent via a lawyer to the dialogue panel in March 2012. If just one of the suggested proposals was enacted it would mean 612 off-plan apartment buyers coming off the massive waiting list in two years' time. Whenever these five sold-out Towers are fully completed, all the outlay needed to complete these five Towers is returned in full by the existing off-plan buyers' final payment.
Another case is the Villamar project when the construction contractor was appointed as joint owner of the project (GDN, January 1) with a view to completing the same in 18 months, but the ministry website shows it to be under sequester. The Marina West CEO on December 10, 2009 said this same contractor is the owner of Marina West Tower No 9; another piece of real estate that can readily be seized by the state.
Sequestration is the act of removing, separating, or seizing anything from the possession of its owner under process of law for the benefit of creditors or the state.
Instead of applying under sequester only to individual companies involved with stalled projects, also order sequestration on recalcitrant project owners (and their patrons). Otherwise its more Baksheesh for the project owners who never seem to run out of our hard-earned money.
All it needs to restore investor confidence in Bahrain is one influential authority to make a proactive decision on stalled private real estate projects; set an example, start first of all with the stalled Marina West project. All the relevant figures are available to hand over right now.