Former Gov’t Minister ready to settle Pradoville issue with State
Former Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud was one of the persons interviewed by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) on Tuesday (March 07, 2017) about the Pradoville 2 probe. However, unlike Former Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon and Former President, Bharrat Jagdeo who were arrested, Persaud voluntarily went to SOCU’s office on Camp Street.
In a post on social media on Thursday (March 09, 2017), Persaud said he would continue to make himself available to cooperate with the investigators.
The Former Minister disclosed that he applied for a government house lot during the period 2007-2008, as he was at the time occupying a government residence and “not the owner of any house lot issued by the State or one privately acquired.”
Further, Persaud stated that he paid the full “asking price” for the plot of land purchased in the area referred to as ‘Pradoville 2’, adding that it is his first time buying directly from the State.
However, he clarified that he never occupied the residence at Pradoville 2 since he later sold it to deal with financial constraints.
“All the necessary permissions were sought from the Ministry of Housing including a financial penalty was paid for the early disposal of the plot and building” the post added.
Pradoville 2 is a gated community located in Sparendaam on the East Coast of Demerara.
Investigations into the allocation of several acres of prime real estate land came to light during a wider probe of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA). During the CH&PA’s investigation, it was found that the beneficiaries, members and associates of the previous government, grossly underpaid for the lots.
From legal advice sought, the former Minister said: “should the State prove that the price paid for the plot of land was below market value, discussions can be entered into for a mutually acceptable resolution of the matter.”
On Tuesday, others questioned about the probe were PSC’s Ramesh Dookhoo, and the daughter of Former President Donald Ramotar, Lisaveta Ramotar. On Wednesday, March 08, 2017 Priya Manickchand, Former Minister of Education, Irfaan Ali, Former Minister of Housing, Shaik Baksh former Minister of Housing, Nanda Gopaul, Former Minister of Labour, Clement Rohee, Former Minister of Home Affairs and Jennifer Westford, Former Minister of Public Service were questioned.