A South Auckland real estate agent has been suspended for lying about how he stood to make a financial gain from selling a Manurewa property.
Suresh Ganesh, of Goodwood Heights, Manukau, has been suspended for 18 months and fined $5000 by the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal for not disclosing his conflict of interest and lying about it at a tribunal hearing.
Another agent, Robert Wong, has been fined $1500 for failing to "exercise adequate management responsibility" when Ganesh and his daughter Deepashna Prasad-Ganesh acted as real estate agents in the name of Wong's Papatoetoe agency, Able Realty.
The tribunal found that Wong closed the agency's office in 2013 but allowed Ganesh to use the agency's branding and its trust account, paying 6 per cent commission to Wong on each transaction.
"The tribunal then found that Mr Wong had failed to exercise adequate management responsibility in that he took a 'hands-off' approach to the relationship between himself, the agency and Mr Ganesh and Ms Prasad-Ganesh," the tribunal said.
The issues came to light through a complaint from Newal Singh, who agreed to buy a Manurewa property in June 2015.
A company owned by Ganesh and his wife Mohini Ganesh, Mogans Homes Ltd, had earlier agreed to buy the property in February 2015 and nominated another company, Gkamal Ltd, owned by Gurkamal and Sajjan Singh, to be the purchaser.
On April 2, 2015, Mogans lent $15,226 to Gkamal. The loan agreement was signed by Mohini Ganesh and "S Ganesh" was listed as a witness.
In April 8, Gkamal listed the property for sale with Suresh Ganesh.
Newal Singh was shown the property by Deeprashna Prasad-Ganesh and agreed to buy it on June 18, subject to specified building work being completed.
The purchase was settled on August 5 and Gkamal repaid the $15,226 loan to Mogans on August 6.
At the tribunal hearing, Suresh Ganesh denied that he knew about the loan. Mohini Ganesh gave evidence that "her husband had nothing to do with the Mogans' purchase of the property and did not know about it" and that his name as a witness on the loan agreement was not in his handwriting.
The tribunal rejected their claims and said it was "satisfied that Mr Ganesh was present when the Mogans-Gkamal loan agreement was signed and put his name on the loan agreement as being present when Gurkamal and Jaswant Singh signed it".
"The tribunal found that there was no basis on which it could find that Mr Ganesh's statements were accidental or unintended, and that it could only conclude that they were lies," it said in its decision.
It noted that Ganesh had earlier been fined $300 on each of seven charges of dishonesty in 1996, and was convicted on three charges of evading or attempting to evade income tax in 2013.
It found him guilty of "unsatisfactory conduct" in failing to disclose that he might benefit financially from the property sale, and of "disgraceful conduct" in lying to the tribunal.
It decided that the offending was not serious enough to cancel his real estate licence, but suspended his licence for 18 months and fined him $5000.