Oct 31, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Industrial Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), Colvin Heath-London, was yesterday sent packing with immediate effect, thereby bringing an end to his two-year employment under the agency.
In a letter to Heath-London from the Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, it was stated that the NICIL head had failed to protect the best interests of the agency, thereby costing the government to lose billions in investments.
The letter had reminded that the government had retained Heath-London to perform various duties on its behalf, including those related to a Special Purpose Unit (SPU) for the privatization and divestment of identified assets of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
When the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) assumed government, an immediate review was conducted on NICIL and SPU’s operations, which revealed “illegalities and serious failures” in the performance of Heath-London’s duties—“all of which were approved or performed by you, or at your request or under your ostensible authority, which have had a detrimental effect to the governments, NICIL’s and the State’s best interest,” the letter stated.
These illegalities included, but are not limited to, according to the AG, the issuance of various leases of various NICIL properties located in Peters Hall, East Bank Demerara without public tender, valuations, board approval, Cabinet approval, review by approved NICIL counsel and ensuring that the issued leases contained the standard and customary provisions relating to the termination and non-assignment and other protections to NICIL.
Secondly, the AG flagged Heath-London for the issuance of approximately 14 agreements of sale and leased for NICIL land located at Ogle, East Coast Demerara (ECD) and the subsequent vesting of seven tracts of lands without ensuring that full payment was received for those lands in accordance with the terms of relevant agreement, and without ensuring that the vesting orders issues were drafted by approved NICIL counsel or contained the usual and customary language sufficient to protect NICIL’s interests.
The AG went on to flag the NICIL Head for “Procuring the execution and gazetting the aforementioned vesting orders without first ensuring that payments were made in accordance with the terms of the various agreements executed by the parties.”
Minister Nandlall further mentioned the agency’s Head failure to facilitate and procure the necessary NICIL account reconciliations in order to allow the Auditor General to audit NICIL’s account from 2014 to 2019, these reconciliations being performed within six weeks of the appointment of new management, as well as the “failure to facilitate and procure the auditing of SPU’s account by the Auditor General for several years.”
“Your failure in the performance of your duties and referenced transgressions,” the AG wrote, “constitute serious misconduct and dereliction of duty generally, not only breaching applicable laws and violating policies established by the government and NICIL, but causing NICIL and the government to lose billions of dollars. Your actions also amount to a breach of the fiduciary duties and duty of care owned by you to NICIL imposed by the relevant provisions of the Companies Act 1991 and generally.”
Heath-London was requested to immediately surrender all government and NICIL property in his possession, including but not limited to his company vehicle, as well as the keys to the premises, which he currently occupies.
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