Asayish forces in Sulaimaniyah province arrested two people accused of collecting $1 million from citizens as part of a housing scam.
According to an Asayish press release issued on January 3rd, the two suspects owned an unlicensed, fraudulent company called TNW Company for Designing, Publishing and Advertisement, Ltd.
Rezgar Hama Rahim, director of media and public relations for Asayish in Sulaimaniyah, told Mawtani that the company "issued fake forms and distributed them to the citizens at their office in the Bakhtiari neighborhood in Sulaimaniyah, allegedly for the purpose of building housing units for them in the Qularaisi area of Sulaimaniyah".
The company charged citizens $6,500 for each housing application. The company then set up an office in Qularaisi and started construction on land that did not belong to the company or its owners.
"They did so to cheat the people, and hence, they were able to collect about $1 million from nearly 200 citizens," Rahim said.
Citizens discovered the fraud when TNW requested customers deposit more money in a bank that did not exist.
"The citizens then visited Asayish and filed a case with the court against the company," Rahim said. "Pursuant to Article 456 of the Iraqi Penal Code, the judge issued an arrest warrant against the company's owner, the contractor and all the staff of the company."
Asayish forces arrested the two suspects and investigations with them are ongoing.
"The discovery of this fraudulent act became a lesson to the citizens of Sulaimaniyah to be more cautious when dealing with companies constructing housing projects," he said.
Rahim also expressed his confidence in the ability of Asayish forces to deal with acts of fraud committed against citizens.
In a similar type of scam a few years ago, Asayish forces arrested the owner of a company who collected money from citizens for cars. However, he could neither provide cars nor return the money to the people who paid him.
"This is the first time we have had such a major incident of fraud happen in Sulaimaniyah province," Rahim said. "Asayish forces and relevant specialists have always prevented such acts from happening and arrested the perpetrators."
Sulaimaniyah residents also expressed a sense of pride in Asayish forces.
"We feel proud that Asayish forces were able to uncover this act of fraud, but the government entities should tighten measures against such suspected companies," said Kawa Hassan, 38.