Oct 29, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – The People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) has sought to distance itself from its member, James Anthony Bond, who is at the center of allegations regarding his collecting US$1 million for the sale of prime state lands situated at Peter’s Hall, East Bank Demerara.
The PNC/R also went as far as to say that Bond is not even an Executive member of the party but rather a senior member.
It was PNC/R General Secretary, Amna Ally/ who made it clear that Bond was not an Executive in response to the allegations published in the media.
According to reports, Ally said, “The PNC/R wishes to inform the public that Mr. James Bond is not an Executive Member of the PNC/R. The PNC refers to an article published in the October 27, 2020 edition of the Guyana Times News Papers with the headline ‘PNC/R Executive Collects US$1M for flipped lands at Peter’s Hall’, the ‘PNC/R Executive’ use in the headline is erroneous.”
Kaieteur News had reported that Bond pocketed the US$1 million for the sale of 10 acres of land at Peter’s Hall for a company called ARKEN Group Inc. of which he is said to be a principal.
The other player in the company is listed as Jermaine Richmond.With the allegations brought to the fore, several questions were posed to leader of the Opposition APNU+AFC, Joseph Harmon, who was asked to comment on the issue.
Harmon told Kaieteur News, “I would not go beyond the statement that was issued by the party, by the PNC, on this matter. Some issues are in the domain of the attorneys that are dealing with these transactions. And I can say to you that even some of the people who are raising red flags about this, that is the way they have gone about dealing with their business. I wouldn’t go any further into that but to say that if it is in fact a professional transaction that was done by an attorney and his clients, then certainly that’s client-attorney confidentiality. If there was in fact anything that was illegal or so on about it, then the law will take its course. I wouldn’t go beyond that.”
Asked whether the procurement of the lands was above board, Harmon said he has done no investigations on the matter and referred questions to the Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall.
Kaieteur News also asked of Harmon whether Bond was contacted to provide an explanation on the deal.
To this, he said, “Well, as I said before, this is a matter now that the person who has been identified is an attorney and I believe that it was in that capacity that he was acting and therefore at the appropriate time it becomes necessary, then the person will be called upon for an explanation. But as it is right now, the gentleman is an attorney and I understand from the paperwork I have seen, that it is in that capacity he was acting, and I am not prepared to go beyond that.”
Also commenting on the matter was PNC/R Executive, Aubrey Norton.
Norton told Kaieteur News that “While there is no intention to throw Bond ‘under the bus’, we must correct you when you keep saying that he is an executive member of the PNC/R. He’s a senior member of the party, but he’s not an executive.”
He offered no further comments on the allegations.
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.
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 lists 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 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.
It should be noted that it was Bond, not Richmond or ARKEN Inc., that is listed as the beneficiary of two direct bank transfers as payment for the lands. 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.
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