The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has scheduled March 3 as the next date for mediation between real estate developer Borey VIP, its creditors and more than 350 families who say they have paid for homes which have not been built.

Their earlier talks on February 23 failed to find an acceptable solution, although all parties agreed to meet again.

“Representatives of the company, the families and the three creditors – Seng Ruochleang, Ly Hak and Chhorn Seak Leang, will attend the meeting. We urge all concerned to work together to find a win-win solution,” said the announcement.

Heng Sopheap, a representative of the families who brought homes in the Borey VIP project – in O’Tasek village, O’Oknha Heng commune, Prey Nob district – said 373 families had made total payments of $12 million to the company.

“We would like to see the company complete the project. If they cannot complete construction, then we would at least like to receive our house titles. If they are completely out of funds, we would like our deposits to be returned. It would be really hopeful if VIP could share financial statements with us,” he added.

An attorney representing Borey VIP, who did not want to be named, said that the company owner owed $19 million to three people: $12 million to Ruochleang, $2.3 million to Hak and $4.7 million to Seak Leang.

According to the lawyer, 1,700 of the 2,599 homes in the project had been sold, with 362 of them completely paid for.

“The company has collected $16,588,448 for the 362 paid off homes, deposits of $7,747,662 and instalment payments totaling $16,682,972 dollars. This mean VIP has collected $41,019,042,” he said.

He requested that the company’s creditors suspend the interest on their loans and withdraw their legal complaints so the owner of Borey VIP could address the families’ issues. He claimed that the company was in a position to offer a solution.

Provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun, who chaired the meeting, said that he had ordered his officials to investigate the case. When they discovered that the owner of Borey VIP had external debts with third parties, he invited the creditors to be a part of the process.

“The case could easily be sent to court, but the administration would rather coordinate to find a solution that benefits everyone,” he said.

“I expect that the parties will cooperate to find a win-win solution during the March 3 meeting. It may be that the company’s creditors will need to consider eliminating interest from their repayment demands,” he added.