Former NICIL Boss arrested

Colvin Heath-London

Former Head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Colvin Heath-London has been arrested for questioning.

This was confirmed by Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum.

Heath-London has been relieved of his duties in light of a series of illegalities and failures, the PPP/C Administration had announced.

Heath-London had served as head of the Special Purpose Unit which was convened by the David Granger-led A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government after it closed four sugar estates. The Unit was responsible for the privatisation and divestment of identified assets of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).

The PPP/C Government had said that a review of NICIL’s and SPU’s operations revealed illegalities and serious failures by Heath-London in the performance of his duties.

Identifying some of London’s shortcomings, the Government outlined that various leases for NICIL properties located in Peters Hall, East Bank Demerara (EBD), were signed without public tender, valuations, Board approval, Cabinet approval, and review and approval by NICIL’s counsel. It noted that the counsel’s approval was to ensure that the leases contained the standard and customary provisions relating to termination and non-assignment and other protections to NICIL.

In a statement, Government identified that Heath-London issued approximately 14 agreements of sale and leases for NICIL lands located at Ogle, East Coast Demerara (ECD), and the subsequent vesting of seven tracts of lands without ensuring that full payment was received for those lands in accordance with the terms of the relevant agreements. He also issued the agreements and vesting orders without ensuring that the vesting orders issued were drafted by approved NICIL counsel or contained the usual and customary language sufficient to protect NICIL’s interests.

He is accused of procuring the execution and gazetting the vesting orders without first ensuring that payments were made in accordance with the terms of the various agreements executed by the parties. Heath-London failed to facilitate and procure the auditing of SPU’s accounts by the Auditor General.

The now terminated CEO reportedly failed to facilitate and procure the necessary NICIL account reconciliations in order to allow the Auditor General to audit NICIL’s accounts from 2014 to 2019.

The Government noted that Heath-London’s transgressions constitute serious misconduct and dereliction of duty generally. He not only breached applicable laws and violated policies established by the Government and NICIL, but caused NICIL and the Government to lose millions of dollars.