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New requirements for granting powers-of-attorney; $5 million fine, imprisonment for fraudsters

Last Updated on Tuesday, 7 December 2021, 17:21 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana government is about to amend the Deeds Registry Act to make it harder to grant a power-of-attorney as both parties will have to appear before a Notary Public either here or overseas and they will have to provide several types of identification information.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall is next Monday expected to pilot debate on the amendment of the law to provide for the donor and recipient of the power to personally appear before a Notary Public, Magistrate or Justice of the Peace who is preparing the power of attorney.

When passed by the National Assembly and signed into law by the President, a Notary Public or Justice of the Peace who is suspended, removed from practice or not on the register performs such functions commits an offence. Further, anyone who certifies or propounds any false statement or document or  who fraudulently with intent to deceive, conceals or withholds or perverts any fact or document pertaining to a power of attorney commits an offence can be fined $5 million and imprisoned for five years.

The amendment now requires the donor and the donee to each provide two photograph identification documents- identification card, valid passport or driver’s licence- that establish their identity. However, the proposed amendment states that if the donor of the power is out of the country and the donee is in Guyana, each would have to appear personally before a Notary Public, Magistrate or Justice of the Peace in which he is and execute the power of attorney providing the identification documents.

Further the Deeds Act would be amended to require the power of attorney to specify the names and numbers of the identification documents of the donor and the donee in the presence of the before a Notary Public, Magistrate or Justice of the Peace and two witnesses, and subscribed by the witnesses before being signed, sealed or stamped by the before a Notary Public, Magistrate or Justice of the Peace.

The law would also now require certified and sealed or stamped copies of the photograph identification documents and a separate witness statement where the donor executed the power outside of Guyana must be attached to the power of attorney and filed with the Deeds Registry.

This would now be accepted as evidence in any suit, action or other proceeding, states the explanatory memorandum.