…but demands $179M for nearby land alone
The forensic audit conducted on Government holding company has raised questions about the sale of Duke Lodge at a cost that is a little less than what the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) charged for a land alone in the same area.
Further, it was noted that NICIL had no apparent reason for deciding to sell the Duke Street property.
Roraima Airways is owned by Gerry Gouveia, a friend of the then People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government.
In his report, former Auditor General and chartered account, Anand Goolsarran, pointed out that
NICIL sold the property at 93 Duke Street, Kingston to Roraima Airways via Order No. 26/2010 dated June 17,
He said that the records of NICIL indicate that the company was the third highest bidder. However, the highest bidder withdrew his bid after the tender was awarded to him.
After that happened, NICIL decided to sell the property to Roraima Airways. NICIL said that this decision was made because of the expansion plans Roraima Airways had as well as the fact that the company is the owner of the adjacent property which NICIL had earlier sold to it.
Goolsarran said that the two properties were sold for $49M and $138M, compared with valuations of $50 million and $140 million respectively.
The Auditor said that it is still not clear how much was expended on renovation works before these two properties was sold.
Further, Goolsarran said that the rationale for disposing of the two properties could also not be determined. He suggested that the sale was a bad move for Government considering the fact that “the property was strategically located in close proximity of the United States Embassy and the Canadian High Commission and other State agencies in need of office space have been renting buildings over the years, e.g. the Guyana Revenue Authority in respect of its office in Camp Street.”
With regard to the selling price, Goolsarran suggested that Gouveia got the property at a gift price considering the fact that a land alone situated in that vicinity has been sold for much more.
Goolsarran noted, “It is relevant to note that in 2011, NICIL had sold the land only at Lot E ½ 126 & 127 Barrack and Parade Streets with an acreage of 0.6753for $179 million. This land is in close proximity of the Duke Street properties.
That property was sold to Precious Metals.
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