Nov 26, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – While the probe continues into the large scale give away of prime state lands by the National Industrial & Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), the governing administration has turned its attention to the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission (GLSC). There, the situation was described as “equally worse” than giveaways at NICIL.
Under the control of the previous APNU+AFC administration, the GLSC headed by recently terminated Trevor Benn, reportedly gifted large plots of prime lands to persons. However, a definite location for these very lands is yet to be determined.
Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall, relayed to the media that as the probe gets deeper, “very strange and abnormal procedures” are being unearthed.
“These lands, some of them are not yet identified, but a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is entered into and a huge sum of money is paid and the MOU said that the person will get a lease for an unidentified plot of land, somewhere in Ogle, for example. I have never seen a transaction like that,” the AG stated.
“One person received 200 acres of land at Ogle. And the intention is, the land will abut the highway that is being built from Ogle to Diamond. When you look at the distance, and you look at 200 acres of land, it means that almost two sides of the road are gone. And the road is running between the land,” he added.
By standard procedure, Nandlall stated, state lands are either given by permission, by lease, or by title, so interested parties would either pay a purchase price, a licensing fee or a lease fee to acquire the asset.
“But here, you have an MOU and a huge sum of money is paid and the MOU seems to entitle the person who signed it with the GLSC to get a lease at a future date in relation to a plot of land that has not yet been identified,” the AG disclosed.
So far, Nandlall added, the documents found at the Commission give no indication of whether the already gifted lands are owned by the state or the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO).
“I am speaking about hundreds of acres. It is the weirdest transaction I have ever seen,” he said.
According to the AG, it is a normal procedure under Guyana’s State Lands Act that state lands are administered by the President, which at the time was David Granger. Those lands, he explained are then delegated to the Commissioner at the GLSC “by an instrument.”
“That Commissioner only has the powers that would have been delegated to him by the President. Now, when one examines Mr. Benn’s instrument, he was never given the power to issue titles for lands. And he has issued titles for various pieces of lands throughout Georgetown and right across the country. So all those transactions are illegal and unlawful,” Nandlall disclosed.
In addition to that, like the lands given away by NICIL, there was no public procurement exercise held to alert the general populace that the lands were available for disposal.
With a slew of similar cases being discovered, the AG posited that a forensic audit may be required to “sort out the mess” at both NICIL and the GLSC.
“We are compiling these cases now. Each file, a legal opinion is being written to. And then we will release some to the public and all will be passed to the police, for the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) to investigate. And a forensic audit may have to be commissioned, to understand what really went on,” Nandlall said.
Only days ago, the governing administration terminated Trevor Benn’s contract as the Commissioner of the GLSC. His termination will be effective from February 4, 2021.
President Irfaan Ali, shortly after taking office had stripped the Commissioner of critical powers vested to him. This move was intended to prevent the Commission from further sanctioning the renting and granting of leases, licenses and permission of occupancy of all government lands.
Jan 25, 2021Selected grounds across Guyana to be converted to Leisure and Recreational Parks Despite the ongoing challenges being presented by covid-19, Minister of Culture Youth and Sport (MCYS) Charles Ramson...
Jan 25, 2021
Jan 25, 2021
Jan 24, 2021
Jan 24, 2021
Jan 24, 2021
Kaieteur News – Once again, I lament the horrible levels of mediocrity in Guyanese journalism. I do not believe you... more
Kaieteur News – A new era of broadcasting has emerged but will a new breed of broadcasters arise. There is now a multiplicity... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]