It is not a bond, but a house…
Opposition to pursue recovery of $300M Govt. paid to rent Sussex Street property Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, yesterday insisted that Government may have given up the controversial rental of the ‘house’ at Sussex Street, Albouystown, but that will not be the end of the matter.
The Government exited the facility last month after racking up a rental bill of at least $314.6M.
“This is not a bond…this is a house in Sussex Street that the gentleman paid $25M for, based on an advance that he got from the Government,” Jagdeo declared to reporters yesterday.
The issue of the rental surfaced in 2016 when it was learnt that the building had been rented under very lucrative terms to businessman, Larry Singh, during the tenure of former Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton.
Jagdeo estimates that in three years, Singh received $350M in rental for a house that he bought from an advance that the Government gave him for $25M.
“That is the best business to be in, but it is illegal, and trust me, that’s one of the sets of monies that we will seek to recover. That contract, although it has come to an end, will be revisited many times in the future,” Jagdeo noted.
According to the Opposition Leader, the deal was done without any tender and no explanations from the Government.
“It was baptized by the cabinet. [Raphael] Trotman, [Joseph] Harmon and [Moses] Nagamootoo baptized this contract through a special committee,” Jagdeo pointed out.
He expressed hope that the Government Ministers will also attend the interviews at the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).
It was pointed out that at the cost of $25M, the Government could have built 12 bonds using the $314.6M it paid to Singh.
It was discovered late 2016 that the facility was merely storing items such as lubricants and condoms.
In June, Minister Volda Lawrence said that the Ministry of Public Health paid $264.5M to Linden Holding Inc. for the rental of the building to between July 2016 and March 2018. That amount equates to $12.1M per month.
Further, Lawrence had explained that one of the main reasons for the continued rental was to store a CT scanner valued at about US$90,000 ($18M). The scanner was a donation from RAD-AID International and the reason given for it being kept in storage was the delay in the completion of a room at the Bartica Hospital.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Health, Collette Adams, who had committed to speak with Kaieteur News on the rental on Monday, is yet to do so.
Lawrence had indicated that the Government would have stopped the rental last December, but that promise was not fulfilled.
The Ministry had served a Notice of Quit dated October 2016 by then Permanent Secretary, Trevor Thomas. A reminder dated October 3, 2017 was sent by Adams who had taken over from Thomas.
Lawrence explained that the Government was hoping to take the money used for the rental and reinvest it in the public health sector. The Minister had disclosed plans to build more bonds and expand the ones owned by the Ministry.
Oct 15, 2018Eagles Basketball Club and Pacesetters played both matches contested on Saturday at the Burnham hard court in the Second and First Division of the Rainforest Water/Malta Supreme/Georgetown Amateur...
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