Jan 31, 2020 News
– Says future dividends must be handed over to NICIL
By Kiana Wilburg
Under the guidance of the PPP regime, the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) sold the State’s 20 percent holdings in the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GTT) to Hong Kong Golden Telecom Limited (HKGT) in April 2012.
HKGT at that time was a one-year old subsidiary of Datang Telecom International Technology (Hong Kong) Company Limited.
HKGT was supposed to pay US$30M for the 20 percent stake in GTT but Guyana only received US$25M.
When the APNU+AFC party took office in 2015, it had vowed to go after the outstanding sums. But efforts to get the Chinese company to pay up just proved futile.
In fact, the government faced much opposition from the Chinese firm which refused to pay the full sum. It had told the government that it would pay about US$3M or nothing at all.
But the government’s fortunes on this matter would soon improve after the matter was taken over by Colvin Heath-London of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited.
Armed with his lawyers, Heath-London who is the Head of NICIL’s Special Privatization Unit (SPU), approached the courts to garnish the dividend payments GTT would have made to Hong Kong Golden Telecom Limited (HKGT).
About two weeks ago, Justice Franklin Holder issued an order in favour of NICIL for the garnishment of US$3.2M from the account of the Guyana Telephone & Telegraph Co. Ltd.
While this still leaves US$1.8M outstanding, NICIL has no worries for the court also ordered that future dividend payments be made to NICIL.
The order as seen by this newspaper specifically states that upon reading the Notice of Application and hearing submissions made by Attorneys-at-law for the Applicant, Devindra Kissoon and Natasha M. Vieira, Justice Holder issued a Garnishment Order in favour of NICIL.
The order said that the US$3.2M represents the payment of all of the dividends due and owing to HKGT and which were accrued on its 4125 shares for the year ending December 31, 2019.
The court also ordered that any other dividends to be paid in the future by GTT to the Chinese subsidiary would also go to NICIL.
The Order further noted that if there is a failure to comply with the terms of the order, the parties in breach may be liable to imprisonment or have their assets confiscated.
The order of the court was posted on NICIL’s website. (See link for more details: https://nicil.gov.gy/wp-content/uploads/56.-Order-of-Court-dated-January-13-2020.pdf).
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