Oct 28, 2020 News
– Sale executed five months after land acquisition
Kaieteur News – People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) executive, James Bond collected US$1 million dollars related to the sale of prime state lands leased by the National Industrial & Commercial Investments Ltd. (NICIL) to a company in which Bond appears to be a principal.
Those very lands in question are a small part of ongoing investigations being undertaken by the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) into the large scale giveaway of state lands during the previous APNU+AFC regime’s tenure.
GLASS Holdings and Lennox Petroleum
The revelation that Bond benefitted financially from the deal came to the fore after GLASS Holdings Inc., the recipient, attempted to pay lease fees for lands it had acquired on the East Bank of Demerara. Kaieteur News is in receipt of a letter sent to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NICIL, Radha Sharma by the company’s Managing Director, Glenn Low-A-Chee.
In that letter, Low-A-Chee explained that the company was interested in acquiring land – whether through purchase or lease – for the purpose of constructing a warehouse. He explained that the company explored options but later struck up a deal with a company called ARKEN Group Inc. for the purchase of two plots at Plantation Peter’s Hall; Plot ‘A3’ and ‘A4’ under a lease agreement.
“The Lease Agreement and all documents and procedures to effect the transfer of the Leasehold/ Lessee rights from ARKEN to GLASS Holdings were prepared and processed in compliance with the LEASE (number provided) and the general rules governing the lease transfer,” Low-A-Chee stated.
“Pending the completion of the documentation process,” Low-A-Chee wrote, “we had visited NICIL in early March and again in August 2020 in an attempt to pay our lease fees as the new Lessee and we were advised by Mr. Wenston Mingo, Accounts Receivable Clerk in the Accounts Department, NICIL, that there was a pending jurisdictional/restructuring issue between NICIL and Ministry of Business regarding the collection of lease fees, and as such our payment was not accepted/processed. We were advised to follow up at a later date regarding the payments.”
Further on, Low-A-Chee said the company saw a public notice by NICIL informing of a review of leases and sub-leases of the lands at Peter’s Hall and was using the letter to introduce his company as the current Lessee of the plots in question, and requesting a meeting with NICIL officers to “guide us through the current evaluation process.”
In his letter, Low-A-Chee indicated that he attached copies of several documents, listing, inter alia:
“1. Agreement of Sale – ARKEN and GLASS Holdings
2. Lease Agreement between ARKEN and NICIL
3. ARKEN Resolution – Approval of Sale and Appointment of Signatory;
4. ARKEN Resolution – Approval of Payment to James bond
5. ARKEN Company Documents;
6. National ID – (i) Mr. Jermaine Richmond
(ii) Mr. James Bond”
He goes on to list other documents including GLASS Holdings company documents; his passport bio page; GLASS Holdings Approval of Purchase; the Deed of Assignment; Affidavit of Assignor; Affidavit of Assignee; ARKEN Approval of Assignment and Irrevocable Power Of Attorney (POA), GLASS Holdings Approval of Acceptance of Assignment, along with the plans of the two plots provided by the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission.
The POA/Deed of Assignment, seen by this paper, and dated November 15, 2019 lists “Plots A3 and A4 being a portion of 5.0 acres and 5.0 acres respectively of land situate at Plantation Peter’s Hall” sold to GLASS Holdings Inc. through a 10 October 2019 sale. While the documents speaks to the decision being via resolution of ARKEN’s Board of Directors, the sale is authorized by only two people, Jermaine Richmond, “Sole Director” and James Anthony Bond, “Attorney-at-Law”.
It is Bond, not Richmond or ARKEN Inc, that is listed as the beneficiary of two direct bank transfers. The first on October 15, comes five days after the date of the Agreement of Sale and was for US $195,000.
The second, on November 21, a week after the POA/Deed of Assignment, was for $757,800. Both statements listed the beneficiary name as James Bond, an account number and an address 34 Third Street, Alberttown, Georgetown.
What is notable, however, the wire transfer was not made by GLASS Holdings Inc but by a Trinidad based Consultancy Company called Lennox Petroleum, with payment approved by a Sharlene Guness-Jaghoo and released by a Wayne Persad. Both payments were made from a Wall Street Bank to a local bank account.
Both transfer documents lists in the “Originator to Beneficiary Info” as “PURCHASE OF 10 ACRES OF LEASED LAND IN GUYANA.”
ARKEN Group Inc.
Documents seen by Kaieteur News revealed that approximately 20 acres of land situated at Peter’s Hall, East Bank Demerara was leased by NICIL to registered company ARKEN Group Inc.
NICIL, per the lease agreement presented ARKEN with four plots – ‘A1’, ‘A2’, ‘A3’ and ‘A4’ being a portion of 5.8 acres, along with three 5.0 acres plots of land at Plantation Peter’s Hall.
The company list Jermaine Richmond as the principal and Managing Director with the address listed as 34 Third Street, Alberttown, Georgetown. Kaieteur News understands that Richmond is or was at some point employed by James Bond.
The 20-year lease agreement signed on May 9, 2019 – less than six months before part of the land, A3 and A4 was sold to GLASS – stipulated that ARKEN pay a lease fee of US$16,224 plus annually with no restrictions given – which meant that the company could sell or rent the lands to third parties as it pleased.
Kaieteur News has seen the agreement of sale between ARKEN and GLASS which lists the purchase price of the land at GYD$200,000 million. As per the agreement of sale between ARKEN and GLASS, the sum of $40 million, equivalent to the US $195,000 paid by Lennox Petroleum to Bond, would be paid to the Vendor upon signing the agreement while the balance of $160 million, equivalent to the second payment, would be paid six weeks after. It should be noted that the Vendor is listed as Jermaine Richmond and not James Bond. Kaieteur News attempted to make contact with James Bond but efforts proved futile.
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