– Says new Govt. hiding and trying to confuse the nation
By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
Former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall has sought to bring some kind of clarity to the recent mix-up
surrounding the controversial sale of government’s 20 percent share in the Guyana telephone and Telegraph (GT&T) company.
There was some amount of confusion as to which company government sold its shares to and whether or not the company has paid the full agreed sale price of US$30M.
The National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) managed government shares in GT&T and it was the company that presided over the sale. NICIL’s former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Winston Brassington had told the media that the shares were sold to Datang Telecom Technology and Industry Group. This was the same company the new government spoke about and the same company Minister of State, Joseph Harmon reportedly visited during his recent trip to China.
At the most recent post-Cabinet press briefing, government’s spokesperson Minister Raphael Trotman said that Harmon found out that the Datang paid the full US$30 and not just US$25 as was reported before. However, Trotman said that the money could not be traced and the government has no idea who the money was paid to.
Former President, Donald Ramotar subsequently released a statement affirming that his administration did not collect all the money. He said that the company still has US$5M outstanding. However, he said that the company which bought the shares was Hong Kong Golden Telecom. This caused another mix-up.
Yesterday, Nandlall told Kaieteur News that Datang and Hong Kong Golden Telecom are two of the same.
He said that the companies are “related” and have mutual Directors and shareholders. However, he said that the agreement was signed with Hong Kong Golden Telecom and not Datang.
In a statement he released to the media, Nandlall said that he was following with “amusement, the Coalition Government’s desperate attempt to manufacture a controversy over the sale of the shares at GT&T. This attempt is obviously to distract attention from the perpetual scandals that they have been recently generating.”
The Attorney-at-Law said that any person who may have transacted a sale of any valuable asset would be familiar with the process of how such transaction is done.
The former Attorney General pointed out that there is usually an agreement in writing which names the vendor and the purchaser.
He said that it describes the property which is being sold; it states the selling price; a deposit is usually paid upon the signing of the agreement.
Nandlall said that the agreement itself, acknowledges receipt of that deposit and would state how much is the balance outstanding and how and when that balance is to be paid.
He added that upon payment of that balance, the legal title in the property is normally passed by the purchaser to the vendor. The agreement would also include any special terms and conditions which the party may wish to incorporate having regard to the peculiarities of the particular transaction, said Nandlall.
He said that when applying such “elementary principles” to the sale of the GT&T shares there are some
In this regard, Nandlall pointed out that there was an agreement of sale between NICIL on behalf of the Government of Guyana and Hong Kong Golden Telecom.
He said, “NICIL was the vendor and Datang was the purchaser; the property being sold was 20 percent of the Government’s shares in GT&T; the purchase price was US$30M of which US$25M was paid upon the signing of the agreement and the shares, were apparently transferred upon the payment of this deposit. This is not unusual having regard to the fact that over 80 percent of the purchase price was paid upon the signing of the agreement. The balance of US$5M was to be paid within two years from the date of the agreement; the two years have now expired.”
Nandlall said that the “concocted controversy” seems to be whether or not the balance was paid.
He said that if the purchaser is asserting that this money was paid, then all the company has to do is produce the evidence of this payment. The politician added that the purchaser must have some credible evidence that the payment was made and to whom or to which company.
Nandlall said that something is not adding up and it seems as if the government is lying.
“I simply cannot fathom how there can be a controversy. NICIL contends that the money was not paid. The Chinese company, apparently, is contending that the money was paid. Well let them produce evidence of payment. It is that simple. Unless, of course, somebody in the Coalition Government received the money and is refusing to acknowledge receipt or did a write-off àla GRA vs. DDL. The next step for the Government is litigation to recover the debt. There are several lawyers in the Cabinet and it remains a mystery how they cannot advise on such a simple matter. Unless, of course, as I indicated, someone is not making full and frank disclosures on this matter,” said Nandlall.
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