Police Minister Bob Wiese and Fair Trading Minister Cheryl Edwardes today announced that the Superintendent Commercial Crime Division was co-ordinating an investigation into the alleged fraudulent activities of Frances Mary Chan.
Mrs Edwardes and Mr Wiese said the Superintendent would work both with Ministry of Fair Trading officers and Fraud Squad officers.
"It appears that the allegations against Mrs Chan maybe wide ranging and complex," Mr Wiese said.
"The Fraud Squad is currently evaluating the information that has been gathered up until now with a view to further investigating criminality issues.
"It is imperative that the investigations underway by the fraud squad and the Ministry of Fair Trading are co-ordinated."
Mrs Edwardes said the allegations which had been raised were extremely serious and she was very sympathetic to the concerns of the individuals involved.
"Contact has already occurred between the Fraud Squad and the Ministry of Fair Trading and each agency has agreed they will consult and assist one another as appropriate," she said.
Mrs Edwardes said that in addition, she had ordered a review into all open files in the Ministry's Real Estate Business Industry Unit and for a report on the status of each one.
"As well, I am arranging for an independent review of the organisation and operating methods in the unit in relation to investigations and compliance matters," she said.
"I am unhappy at the time lag that has already occurred with this investigation and these measures are designed to ensure there is an improved response to community concerns and a resolution of future issues in a timely manner."
Mrs Edwardes said the Ministry for Fair Trading was also examining in detail whether any of the parties involved had valid claims against the Fidelity Guarantee Fund.
The Fidelity Guarantee Fund existed to compensate people who had had money stolen from them as part of a real estate transaction.
Mrs Edwardes said Ministry of Fair Trading officers had been investigating allegations against Mrs Chan to determine whether there were any breaches of the Real Estate and Business Agents' Act.
"From the investigations it appears some of these matters might involve private investment loans and on this point I have instructed the Ministry to obtain Crown Solicitors' advice," she said.
In October 1995, the Real Estate and Business Agent's Supervisory Board imposed conditions on Mrs Chan's practising certificate. To date Mrs Chan has not met those conditions and consequently Mrs Chan cannot work as a real estate agent.
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