May 01, 2016 News
A Board Member of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) charged with investigating suspicious transactions to the tune of billions of dollars has threatened to resign over what he believes to be the reluctance by the administration to deal with corruption.
The Board Member, Mark Jacobs, reportedly wrote Chairman, Hamilton Green, recently saying that he disagrees with suggestions to keep a number of CH&PA’s management, despite a number of worrying questions raised about transactions.
The administration had promised in the lead up to May 11 elections last year to rid the country of corruption.
Jacobs, who declined to confirm yesterday, is the Chairman of the Land Allocation Committee of the Board that Green chairs.
That committee has been investigating several projects and transactions, including the 1,000-homes project and the housing schemes along the East Bank Demerara, especially. Also being investigated is several hundreds of acres of lands between Eccles to Grove that have been sold under questionable arrangements to private developers.
A Ministry of Communities official said that Jacobs’ committee reported that it had stumbled upon billions of dollars in fraud, mismanagement and corruption at CH&PA.
“The little that we’ve found is only the tip of the iceberg as we are not privy to information and details on many important transactions and dealings of CHPA and we are (yet) not in receipt of an audit report,” Jacobs wrote in his letter to Green.
“We have recommended at Committee level that a number of persons be sent on administrative leave and that legal advice be sought for recovering stolen assets and instituting criminal charges against officers and others within the agency responsible for these known illegal activities.”
The Board Member said while he respected the stance of the Chairman “to work in peace and give management another chance,” he is not in agreement given what has been uncovered so far in my short sojourn.
“I am at odds with the APNU+AFC Government position of appeasement and redemption for persons who have flagrantly violated their Oath of Office and the laws of Guyana.”
He said he will be forced to resign if no actions are taken.
Jacobs and his Board have been complaining of little cooperation from the CH&PA’s management, including its Chief Executive Officer, Myrna Pitt, and her deputy, Denise King-Tudor.
Both had reportedly written to President David Granger complaining that the Board had been hostile toward them.
There are several questions over the lands to the private developers. A few of them has illegally resold the lands, reportedly breaching the conditions of the sale. There was little evidence of monitoring of those lands by CH&PA as most of the lands have remained in bushes and not developed.
With regard to the 1,000 homes, Jacobs’ committee reportedly poor construction and management, and losses of millions of dollars in materials bought by CH&PA for those turn-key homes. Most of the theft of the materials was never reported to the police.
Not too far away from that project is another one called the Remigrant Scheme. There are several questions over this one especially with the monies spent on infrastructure and exactly who benefitted from the house lots. There were questions also about what criteria CH&PA used to determine prices.
CH&PA is charged with handling billions of dollars annually for the development of housing in Guyana and is facing a huge problem on how to find lands for almost 25,000 applications on file.
Exxon has to put up a sign board across the Demerara Harbour Bridge to tell Guyanese what % of revenue we are getting from the Stabroek Block!
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