Investor says MovieTowne land sale shouldn’t be in court
The decision of the previous Government to sell a plot of land to Multicinema/MovieTowne should not be subject to court proceedings, the principal of the company, Derick Chin says.
Two former Government officials have been charged with misconduct in public office for selling several plots of land, allegedly at a cost that was way below market value.
Court documents revealed that 10 acres of land at Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown was sold to Multicinema/MovieTowne for GY$185 million.
This transaction is one of three which forms the basis of the criminal charges against former Minister of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh and former Head of the Privatisation Unit, Winston Brassington.
Chin told reporters on Tuesday that he bought the land at a cost that was approximately US$1 million less than it was initially worth at the time but he explained that the social and economic benefits being reaped from the US$45 million MovieTowne project is more than enough to compensate.
The businessman explained that when it comes to investments, Governments need to take into consideration other factors.
“It shouldn’t be a matter anybody would want to go to court for…this is how investments work, some countries, they give the land free,” the foreign investor stated.
He disclosed that the St Vincent and St Lucian Governments have offered him several plots of lands, free of cost, to establish similar investments in their countries.
“Look at it as if you’re forfeiting the million dollars but look at what you’re [getting],” Chin explained.
The Guyanese-born businessman accepted that if he purchased the land at an undervalued price then resold it for huge profits, then that would be a fair reason to take the issue to court.
Chin assured that there was no underhand deal in the transaction and he promised that the investment will provide multiple benefits to the country, its people and the economy.
The development of the theatre and entertainment complex was first estimated at US$30 million but after several delays, the cost increased by US$15 million.
Meanwhile, court proceedings against Dr Singh and Brassington at the Magistrate’s Court have been stayed until Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire rules on their challenge to the criminal charges brought by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).
Their lawyers had challenged the legality and validity of the criminal charges against them.
Both men have claimed that the charges are politically motivated and have no merit.