By Carl Pfeiffer
The Department of the Attorney-General and Justice has refused to answer questions over allegations a conveyancer continued to practice unlicensed in the Territory for more than five months.
Aquarius Conveyancing owner Gabrielle Vita’s licence expired on December 1, 2019, however the NT Independent understands she continued to practice unlicensed until at least May 5, 2020, while marketing herself as still being licensed.
This means clients who used Ms Vita and Aquarius Conveyancing for conveyancing services may have been put at risk of not being covered by professional indemnity insurance during the five-month period.
A notice of intention to apply for a Conveyancing Agents Licence for Ms Vita and Aquarius Conveyancing was featured in the NT News’ classifieds section on April 23, nearly five months after the expiration.
The NT Agents Licensing Board received objections to the applications and has not renewed the licences, but it is unclear whether Ms Vita will face any consequences for the breach.
When contacted, the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice refused to answer the NT Independent’s questions about the allegations.
In a statement provided to the NT Independent, Ms Vita said: “I am working with the regulator in relation to my licence and will continue to co-operate with them until this matter has reached a conclusion”.
A source who alerted the NT Independent to the issue said it was the responsibility of Licensing NT and the NT Agents Licensing Board to ensure conveyancers were regulated and questioned why nothing was done about the breach.
“She has been practising without a licence for five months and neither Licensing NT nor the board has done anything about it,” the source said.
“They are there to protect the public by enforcing the law.”
Aquarius Conveyancing’s website, which was taken down on Tuesday after being contacted by the NT Independent, said Ms Vita had “more than 25 years experience in the Northern Territory conveyancing industry”.
The maximum penalty under the Agents Licensing Act for practising unlicensed is $78,500 for an individual or $392,500 for a company.
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