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Singapore property agent suspended, fined S$27,000 for breaching CEA code

A PROPERTY agent from KF Property Network has been fined S$27,000 by the Council for Estate Agencies' (CEA) disciplinary committee for three charges in relation to breaches of the statutory board's code of ethics and professional client care. 

George Peh, who was with DTZ Property Network when he committed the breaches, also had his property agent registration suspended for each of the charges, with the suspension periods to run concurrently. The longest is 10 months and starts from Monday, the CEA said in a statement on the same day.

Mr Peh had made unauthorised alterations to the documents of three lease transactions to disguise and obtain additional commissions totalling S$55,879.

This was in addition to S$8,785 in total co-broking fees received from landlords’ agents that he had co-broking arrangements with.

Mr Peh received S$64,664 in total from these transactions, seven times more than what he would have otherwise received.

The transactions happened from December 2013 to May 2014 on separate occasions, where three tenants individually engaged Mr Peh to source for suitable properties in Singapore for leasing. When the tenants agreed to lease the properties, each agreed to pay him commission fees.

Concurrently, Mr Peh asked three property agents each representing a landlord to co-broke the transactions with him and withheld information that he would be collecting commission fees from the tenant-clients.

To disguise and obtain the commissions, Mr Peh altered three official DTZ “commission agreement for lease (tenant)” documents without DTZ’s authorisation and changed them to property management agreements instead.

He then described the commissions as “property management fees” for services relating to the lease of the properties.

“His disreputable behaviour resulted in multiple parties being defrauded over a series of different lease transactions. These actions went against the core of his professional duties,” CEA said in a statement.

KF Property Network is the agency arm of Knight Frank Singapore.