Even with new management in place, the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) is yet to take action regarding a plot of Turkeyen land that was suspiciously gifted to China Railway Engineering Group during the PPP administration.
China Railway was considered as a key construction partner during discussions on the controversial Amalia Falls Hydro Project. The matter has never come up for discussion at a NICIL board meeting. This was confirmed, yesterday, by Officer in Charge of NICIL, Horace James.
The matter was one which was first brought to the attention of the media by the Alliance for Change (AFC).
Based on a publication of the Official Gazette, the party found that one acre of land at Plantation Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara, as shown on a plan by D. Ramkarran, a sworn land surveyor dated June 18, 2013 and signed by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh on April 4, 2014, was transferred to NICIL.
NICIL then transferred it to China Railway Guyana Incorporated. There was no cost attached to the land transfer.
Local critics have since noted that moves should be made for the land to be repossessed. There have also been calls for sanctions to be imposed against those involved in the illicit transaction.
The issue was also flagged by Chartered Accountant, Anand Goolsarran in his forensic audit report on NICIL.
In the report, Goolsarran said that the land which was gifted to China Railway was initially GuySuCo’s. Kaieteur News had previously reported that GuySuCo was ordered to halt developmental negotiations because former President, Bharrat Jagdeo had “other plans” for the land.
The land was gifted to the PPP government which subsequently gifted it to NICIL. NICIL then disposed of the land to three companies, National Hardware, Multi Cinema Guyana, and China Railway.
National Hardware and Multi Cinema secured sweetheart deals. National Hardware got 104 acres at $4.9M per acre while Multi Cinemas Guyana secured 10 acres at $16M per acre. Both companies got good deals as another company was made to pay $32M per acre. Nevertheless, China Railway got one acre for free.
Records referred to in Goolsarran’s report indicated that NICIL gifted the land to China Railway the very day that Government gifted the land to NICIL.
Goolsarran’s report says that Sub lot AA at Plantation Turkeyen East Coast Demerara was transferred as a gift via order No.16 2014 the same day that it was vested in NICIL via order No. 15/2014. Both orders were signed by the then Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh.
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