Gov’t reaches settlement with Cevons, Car Care on illegal land deals

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Months after the government initiated legal processes to repossess lands sold illegally to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cevons Waste Management Inc., Morse Archer, and popular businessman, Wilfred Brandford – the owner of Car Care Enterprise – Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, has said that the government has settled with the matter with both businessmen.

Through the settlement, the government has taken steps to discontinue its recourse to the courts.

“We will not go to court on these issues,” Dr Jagdeo said at a Friday afternoon press conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.

“We don’t want to penalise these people, we want to go after the people who acted illegally,” Dr Jagdeo added.

Asked to provide details on the agreement, the Vice President said he does not wish to provide the details just yet as the agreements were still being finalised.

“I would not wish at this point in time to speak about it… we will make the details public when the time comes… the State will not pursue any legal action against these persons any longer,” he added.

The Vice President said the move to broker the agreement is an adjustment to the government’s earlier stated position to penalise these persons.

“We took a conscious decision that we will not go to the court because that would result in a setting aside of the transports… we didn’t pursue the hardline position here but there are some persons we will pursue including public officers.”

His comments come days after former Commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) Trevor Benn, was slapped with a charge in relation to the same of the land to Cevons.

The CEO of Cevons was informed by a letter from the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, in February that the government was looking to repossess the land as it was illegally sold to him by Benn.

Nandlall later said that the sale was being reviewed on a direct appeal by Archer to President Irfaan Ali but he emphasised that the transaction remains highly illegal.

Archer claimed the land, located at Le Repentir, Georgetown, was purchased from the GL&SC in 2018 for $100M of which $80M has already been paid.

Meanwhile, later in March, a lawsuit filed by Nandlall against the owner of Car Care, Brandford, noted that the State is the lawful owner of several acres of land at Plantation Ruimveldt, Greater Georgetown.

Brandford was a board member of the GL&SC under the previous A Partnership for Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) administration.

The parcels of land comprising 0.710 and 0.887 acres, respectively, were sold to Brandford for a total sum of $13,500,000.

The government believes Benn authorized the sale of the land knowing fully well it was below market value and he was not authorised to do the sale.

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