Mar 27, 2016 News
-had bought the land for US$2.2M eight weeks earlier, now suing for money owed
Just eight weeks after striking a deal for a 100-acre plot of prime housing land behind the Providence
Stadium, businessman Brian (BK) Tiwarie turned around and sold it to the Chinese logger for nearly four times the value.
However, Chu Hongbo, principal of BaiShanLin Forest Development, has failed to pay the balance of US$4M and now the matter is before the court. Tiwarie had asked for US$8M.
The logger had agreed to pay the balance by April 2015.
He bought the lands for $471M but only paid $117.7M as an advance. It meant that his company, Sunset Lakes, still owed CH&PA some $344M when he sold it to Chu Hongbo in April 2014.
The CH&PA transaction in 2014 would be a mere indication of the amount of money at stake when it came to the lands on East Bank Demerara.
CH&PA reportedly had no official notice that the company had been sold. Rather, Sunset Lakes was introduced as a joint venture partner. The relationship between Tiwarie and the Chinese logger appeared to have soured after the latter failed to pay and he was sent several lawyer’s letters.
In February, Tiwarie filed a court action again Chu Hongbo demanding the return of the 1,000 shares of Sunset Lakes. The businessman also wanted the US$4M he received as deposit be forfeited and that another US$4M, representing interest and principal at 24 percent, be paid.
Tiwarie is also demanding $50M in damages for breach of the agreement and an injunction blocking Chu Hongbo from blocking, selling or encumbering the property.
Representing Tiwarie in the matter are Attorneys-at-Law, Mohamed Khan and Kashir Khan.
Several housing developers are facing the possibility of their lands being repossessed for failing to meet deadlines.
A number of them, like BK, have reportedly sold their plots, but those transactions will be illegal as CH&PA’s agreements are specific–the developers are to build homes, not sell the lands or sell houselots.
The Sunset Lakes land itself has been dominating the news for a while now.
A few years ago, Sunset Lakes unveiled an ambitious gated community with a shopping mall.
The homes are selling for at least $40M apiece.
However, Sunset Lakes has now started advertising to sell house lots, in breach of the agreement.
Chu Hongbo is facing a storm of inquiry over companies that he controls in Guyana.
The Sunset Lakes transaction would continue to raise alarming questions about CH&PA, which oversees the state’s housing programmes.
The deals, signed under the previous Government of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, have been angering state officials and citizens alike, for a simple reason. There are more than 25,000 applications for house lots in the database of the CH&PA.
There are few plots of land for housing remaining in the East Demerara area. The new Government is under pressure to find new lands.
Between 2011 and 2015, hundreds of acres of prime lands were parceled off and sold to private developers by CH&PA.
Many of them breached conditions by failing to build within the stipulated time. Instead they were selling off lands as house lots, instead of constructing homes. CH&PA paid little attention to what the
developers were doing.
Shortly after the David Granger administration took office last year, senior housing officials paid surprise inspection visits to lands stretching from Eccles to Golden Grove. These lands went to two dozen developers.
The inspection team found little activities on the lands. The developers were hauled in for a meeting and given a February 2016 deadline to complete infrastructural works.
However, not much progress has been made. There were questions itself about some of the developers.
One of them is Luxury Realty, whose director, Ravie Ramcharitar, is also a senior official in Queens Atlantic Investment Inc. That company is controlled by Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop, the best friend of the ex-President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Luxury Realty benefitted from 28.8 acres of prime lands at Providence, but has done little since receiving the lands in December 2013.
Another person who benefitted was Mohamed ‘Arafat’ Qualander, one of the owners of Queensway, a Water Street business.
In November 2011, three days before General Elections, he signed a deal with CH&PA for 35 acres of land behind Golden Grove. He paid $500,000 per acre.
He is a close friend of former President, Donald Ramotar.
At the time, CH&PA was headed by former PPP/C Minister of Housing, Irfaan Ali.
Under his watch, the ‘Remigrant’ housing scheme was launched but its administration and who really received lands from the CH&PA are now being investigated.
Reportedly, the current CH&PA Board of Directors, headed by City Mayor, Hamilton Green, has launched a number of investigations in several transactions by the entity.
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