Jul 13, 2016 News
The State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU) is looking into one of the many cases of assets sold to close friends of former President Bharrat Jagdeo under questionable transactions.
One of the transactions being investigated was between NICIL and Ed Ahmad. This very transaction was highlighted in the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) audit report.
Forensic auditor, Anand Goolsarran, reported that in December 2008, a total of 13.3 acres of land at Plantation Groenveldt, West Coast Demerara (Block R Leonora) were transferred to South American Woods Inc. This was for the construction and operations of a wood processing facility. Ahmad also had the option of future development in manufacturing, industrial and commercial activities including the construction and operations of a shopping mall. However, this was provided the wood processing facility is constructed first. Construction was to commence one year later. The purchase price was $80 million.
However, at the time of reporting, Goolsarran found no evidence that the wood processing facility was constructed.
Yesterday, Goolsarran told Kaieteur News that he is aware that SARU is looking into matters where NICIL acted as a selling agent on behalf of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo). Goolsarran added that he was not sure the stage of that investigation.
When contacted, SARU Head, Clive Thomas confirmed, that his agency is investigating the sale of these lands.
However, Thomas said, the investigation has not “advanced very far.” Reason being, the Unit is gravely short of staff.
Thomas said that the need to get matters like these off the ground is one of the main reasons his Unit and associates have been working so hard to get the SARU Bill completed.
There were reports that the portion of GuySuCo land sold to Ahmad was to be converted to house lots.
Ahmad was to make profits of over $600M when he converted the property for which he paid a mere $80M, to a housing scheme that included of a shopping mall, full gas and service station and facilities to house two banks.
Ahmad is also no stranger to negative publicity. He was charged by US Federal authorities for his involvement in a massive fraud scheme and in 2012, he entered a plea deal with US agents, and was found guilty of knowingly and intentionally conspiring to defraud several lending institutes over a 15-year period.
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