Estate agent loses bid to keep licence
An Auckland real estate agent found guilty by an industry tribunal of forging a solicitor's signature has lost an application to keep working prior to a High Court appeal later this month.
Delawar Kumandan, an agent at Harcourts Howick until September 2009, was found guilty of misconduct by the Real Estate Agents Authority in April for forging the signature on a settlement document.
The REAA cancelled Kumandan's real estate licence. However Kumandan told the High Court this morning that he needed the licence reinstated to complete unfinished work with current vendors and would not take on any new clients.
The clients had been "left out to dry" by his inability to complete work for them and the death of the principal of his real estate agency, he said.
While Justice Ailsa Duffy said she would have considered giving Kumandan some ability to continue working under the supervision of another qualified real estate agent, he had provided no evidence that anyone was willing to do so.
Justice Duffy said the REAA tribunal's original decision hinged on factual findings and judgements of credibility which went against Kumandan.
The successful complaint made against Kumandan was by the director of his agency, David Clifton, who alleged staff at the office had found a "confirmation of settlement" fax document with a small piece of paper taped to it bearing a solicitor's signature.
At the tribunal hearing another agency director Graham Viall testified that Kumandan had admitted the forgery in a meeting with him.
However Kumandan still intends to appeal the decision at a High Court hearing in Auckland on August 23.
Justice Duffy said today that she had heard nothing in Kumandan's submissions that indicated he would be successful with his substantive appeal.
In the meantime the judge said the public needed to be protected from agents who had committed misconduct and she declined his application to have his licence reinstated.
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