…Five-year-old transaction placed on books ahead of 2015 elections
An investment is expected to yield justifiable returns. The larger the investment the larger the return, but the National Communications Network (NCN)—cash strapped as it is—has done precisely the opposite by having on its books an investment of almost $200M. The investment represents spending on a project for which the only beneficiaries are the residents of the now infamous Pradoville II.
Information coming to light reveals that the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), the parent company of NCN, spent $188M to remove the transmission tower.
That tower was relocated from Sparendaam, East Coast of Demerara (ECD) to La Parfaite Harmonie, West Bank Demerara.
The money was however charged to NCN’s account as an investment. The money is part of an almost $300M that was spent by NICIL, in order to prepare the 15-acre tract of land transforming it into an exclusive residential community.
The financial transaction initiated by NICIL, headed by Winston Brassington, has since formed part of litigation to repossess the entire 15 acres now home to a high end community, and to several former ministers and senior government functionaries.
The investment represented in NCN’s accounts has since been coming under scrutiny given the state of affairs with the company’s financials and its claim to be owed several million dollars; monies which it is yet to recover.
This publication understands that NICIL’s Board of Directors approved the decision to develop the land at the behest of the then Cabinet, and in the process would have had to have the transmission tower relocated.
In order to mask the transactions, NICIL, increased its share contribution/equity holding in the television station.
With the money now being represented in NCN’s books as an increased shareholding, it was then written off as an investment.
That investment has since however attracted the attention of the authorities which are now questioning the transaction since there are no tangible benefits to NCN in order to justify the $188M in its books represented as an investment.
This publication understands that the dubious financial transaction was only represented in the NCN books in February, some five years after the decision to remove the tower and the money having already been spent. The recording of the transaction in NCN’s books also came just weeks before the recently concluded General and Regional Elections.
The house lots, developed in the Pradoville II community, complete with infrastructure, were sold below market value to former President Bharrat Jagdeo, several ministers and Government officials and friends.
There is no evidence that the house lots sale was advertised or what procedures were used in the allocations of the parcels of the ocean front properties.
Other beneficiaries included Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, and former Head of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Ramesh Dookhoo.
The DPP has sweeping powers and holds an independent office.
Former Public Service Minister, Dr. Jennifer Westford; former Natural Resources Minister, Robert Persaud; Compton Bourne, former Head of the Caribbean Development Bank and UG Chancellor; Ghansham Singh and Kamini Parag-Singh and Florrie Loretta Ramnauth also received house lots.
Singh is said to be the son of former Labour Minister, Dr. Nanda Gopaul. They also paid just over $1.5M.
Ali-Hack and her husband, Moeen ul Hack, a top figure in the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG), paid $1,488,744 for a piece of land. The Certificates of Title were prepared in 2011.
Dookhoo, a Banks DIH executive, was a former Chairman of PSC as well as the Guyana Water Inc. (GWI). He reportedly paid $1,502,500 for his plot with his title prepared in 2010.
Also benefitting was Lisaveta Ramotar, daughter of former President Donald Ramotar. She paid $1,515,000.
Former Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee; former GWI boss, Shaik Baksh and former Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, also received lots, paying just over $1.5M each.
So too did former Army Chief, Rear Admiral Gary Best and sacked Chief Executive Officer of the embattled Guyana Sugar Corporation, Dr. Rajendra Singh.
Also named in the list were Andrew Bishop, a Presidential Advisor in the former administration and former Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission.
Safraaz Khan and George Hallaq, said to be the country’s former Middle East envoy, and a company called Future Developers International Guyana Inc., were also among the other names on the list.
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