making North Cyprus better...


So much of the TRNC Media have received writs from Banking interests preventing them reporting events relating to property Victims of some of the TRNC Banks, Landowners and Developers who behave badly. These writs have prevented a lot of news being reported about Property Victims progress to get Justice through the TRNC Courts.

The campaign of the many Victims of this Human Rights Abuse aided by HBPG, STB, BRS and MNCB is continuing. This summary overview is an attempt to bring people up to date with a brief reference to the MNCB background.

MNBC joined the scene because of frustration with the North Cypriot Governments lack of action in sorting out the TRNC's reduced prosperity at home and ruined financial reputation abroad, the main economic problems were due to a self created property mess.

After the Property cut back, the Government appeared content to live on subsidies from Turkey and in excess of 80% of the total TRNC Economy being public spending. In a vibrant prosperous economy public sector spending on the public sector would be less than 50/% with prosperity spread across the entire population. In a prosperous economy enterprise is rewarded rather than suppressed.

A vital sector in a prosperous Mediterranean private sector is residential tourism. On average each new North European retiring in TRNC would contribute about £250,000 each in the first five years of residency. So it is estimated that the housing mess is costing the TRNC economy a loss in prosperity of at least £250,000,000 per year. This is an enormous loss to the TRNC economy and if restored would banish the recession.

An important factor in residential tourism is that the money sent is very widely spent and benefits the whole community. This is compared to Bank, Casino and Club spending which benefits a few. So the loss of North European residential tourism has not only destroyed the construction industry but also alarmingly reduced total prosperity and a lot of service industry opportunities & jobs.

MNCB put forward comprehensive proposals for remedying the property and contract problems, initially these were welcomed by the Prime Minister's Office, but then rejected after superficial examination and apparently strong external lobbying against change. We can all guess where the lobbying came from.

The housing mess was created mainly by successive Governments lack of ethical regulation of financial and housing development. Successive Governments had allowed a free for all in the Finance and Property fields. When the Property sector eventually imploded and collapsed, it destroyed the TRNC economy and the manner it which it was allowed to happen destroyed TRNC financial reputation abroad. In spite of the loss of wealth to most TRNC citizens resulting from this collapse, the Government stood aside doing little if anything to salvage things. Getting the property market restarted was one of the most important steps that the government of the day should have taken but it was ignored. A head in the sand attitude prevailed.

MNCB offered a multi point strategy aimed at re-energising the economy, moving human property rights in the TRNC to European standards and producing a level paying field for Cypriot and Foreign home buyers. Home buyers were continuing to be blatantly ripped off. The political and financial system that tolerated this clearly needed some remedies. This prevailing attitude to investment security continues to put people off investing their savings in the TRNC.

As a last resort by applying to the ECHR, property victims had always expected to be successful in their pursuit of justice. It was so obvious that human rights of home buyers were being abused. Even TRNC law was being circumnavigated to aid some local developers and Banking interests. The TRNC Government, the Central Bank and Land Registry were not fulfilling their mandates to bring order and equity into housing contracts and the TRNC mortgage market. TRNC Mortgage Laws such as 11/78 were being ignored. Formal contracts between sellers and buyers were being violated with impunity. Chaos reigned in the property sector.

MNCB had expected the TRNC Government to intervene with urgency. But despite earlier public and private promises to act from the highest Government Officials nothing happened at government level. It appeared that certain Banking interests had a stranglehold on mortgage and financial policy in the TRNC.

The Lower Courts had previously swept aside a house buyers "right to be heard". In the Courts so many house buyers objections were ignored, the Court had refused to recognise the infringements in TRNC Mortgage Laws and blatant Human Rights abuses. House Buyers who had paid in full for contracted property were treated as squatters. The Banks/developers in question had mislead the Land Registry and Courts by claiming that they were re-possessing Bare Land only, whereas in fact they were attempting to re-possess estates with people having bought houses and already living in them. This is usually considered theft.

Then came a game changer. The High Court, in a test case, Harmony Homes v Near East Bank, ex parte, in September 2012 took a different view and granted an injunction to allow house buyers to be heard and agreed that that the Mortgage Law11/78 should be upheld. The Government department of Land Registry and the Landowner/Developer's were thought to be guilty of negligent if not illegal actions. The Bank was until December 14th to respond. As this was a single High Court Judges Opinion it can be Appealed to a 3 Judge High Court Hearing. It will be interesting to see if the Judgement is appealed or accepted by the Bank.

This Appeal Court Judgement has acted like a stun grenade to offending developers and banks. Banks in question are now rapidly re-considering their plans for grabbing people's homes. But none of the Banks or Developers have yet admitted liability. Some house buyers have appeared already in Court over 100 times, how long will it take for home buyers to get justice?

An Appeal Court Judgement Kulaksiz5 V Akfinans Bank is due imminently, will this be the key that finally opens the floodgate of justice? MNCB certainly hope so. If it does happen, a great well done to TRNC Appeal Court it will have saved the TRNC people and its Government a lot of embarrassment by preventing a string of referrals to the ECHR and a hefty compensation bill.

Since the 19th September 2012 Appeal Court hearing when Akfinans Bank lawyers put up a weak defence of their apparently negligent actions, the Bank has radically changed its defence which had been lodged with the Court, this is so unusual that K5 lawyers are asking that this new defence be Struck Out. This objection will be heard on December 18th 2012.

So the struggle for justice is continuing but as we said earlier its largely unreported.

Malcolm Mitcheson
Joint Secretary MNCB.