$27 million paid to Lands & Surveys for unknown land at Ogle
- AG advises matter to be reported to the CID
Possible criminal charges could be filed following the discovery that GY $27 million was paid and received by the former Commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission (GL&SC) for the lease of six acres of unknown state lands at Ogle on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) under the former A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) government.
In a letter from the GL&SC seen by the News Room, it was made known that there is no vacant, unavailable land under the control of the GLSC at Ogle. Instead, it was highlighted that Plantation Ogle has always been the property of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), save for lands handed over to the government for the Ogle Airport and to the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) for the development of any housing schemes.
Despite there being no land, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) made on May 8, 2017, between the GL&SC and Janico Industrial Engineering Limited, granted for a lease to be issued for six acres of land at Ogle, slated for industrial, commercial and real estate purposes.
The News Room also understands that the company was informed that the precise or final boundaries of the leasehold area would be established upon the completion of a cadastral survey by the GL&SC. It is important to note that the 19-page State Lands Act does not mention any procedure that allows for a MoU to be signed before a lease or even provisional lease is granted. Yet, the GY $13.5 million was paid upon the signing of the agreement and the MoU stated that the outstanding amount from the GY $27 million would be paid subsequently.
It is unclear what this sum of money was paid for but the MoU further stated that the company was obligated to pay the annual rent of $200,000 per acre, as agreed upon subsequent to the issuance of the lease.
In a letter to the current Commissioner of the GL&SC (ag), Enrique Monize, also seen by the News Room, Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, emphasised that this issue raised serious criminal law implications.
He recommended that the matter is reported to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) for investigations. He also recommended possible transmission to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for legal advice and/or for charges to be filed.
The letter also advised that the Hughes, Fields and Stoby law firm, that is representing the company, be informed accordingly.