Georgetown Mayor and City Council, (M&CC) Tax Collection Officer, Kim Forbes, has testified that a receipt for Lombard Street Wharf Facility which Town Clerk Royston King, leased to a local shipping company is missing.
Forbes’s testimony before the Commission of Inquiry into the affairs of City Hall comes approximately several days after proprietor of Quick Shipping Inc, Paul Sandy, produced receipts showing that he paid the MCC $625,000 per year for 2016, 2017 and 2018, for lease of the Sussex Street wharf.
Sandy signed a lease with the MCC for the location at Lot 1 Mudflat, Lombard Street in April of 2016.
However, Forbes told the Commission that her records only reflect payments received at the MCC for 2017 and 2018.
The officer could not say why the receipt for 2016 is not in her records.
Forbes explained that although the Sussex Street wharf lease was signed since 2016, it was only when the news broke in the media over the controversy of the property that she was even made aware of the issue
“Sir, when it appeared in the media, that is the first I gained knowledge of it. I went into my records to see if there was a document pertaining to that and I found the document pertaining to the Sussex Street wharf.
“On checking the records, yes, we had received payments, two, in the year 2017 and the year 2018. No payment was made in 2016 to the best of my knowledge,” she affirmed.
Forbes is employed in the Tax Collecting section under the City Treasury Department, which is responsible for the collection of rates and taxes and other revenues, including compliance fees, day care fees, container fees, payments for leases, fees for the name change on property, vending fee, and car park fee.
Forbes clarified that it is the Town Clerk’s office that prepares both leases and tax waivers, once directed to do so by the full council, or a sub-committee of the finance committee, respectively.
Earlier at the Commission, the Quick Shipping proprietor had admitted that the riverfront land he leased from City Council is being claimed by at least two other entities.
Sandy told the COI that he is using the unfinished wharf to dock his vessels despite the controversy over who owns the land.
The businessman noted that he spent “millions of dollars” improving the wharf, which he claimed was once occupied by pigs.
The repairs included clearing and back filling the wharf.
Sandy noted, too, that he has already been paying a rent of $645,000 annually since 2017 , when the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), Government’s holding company for state assets, and the Guyana National Industrial Corporation,(GNIC) came forward claiming ownership of the properties.
According to information, Sandy revealed that both GNIC and NICIL, claimed to have separate leases and transports for the same property.
The plot of riverfront land, reportedly not the property of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council, (M&CC), was leased to a shipping company by the Town Clerk.
King has reportedly been collecting a yearly rent from the tenants, despite the dispute surrounding the piece of real estate.
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