Govt asks SOCU to investigate land transactions under Granger Govt


The Attorney General Chambers has sought the assistance of the Guyana Police Force and its Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) to investigate transactions involving State lands during the tenure of the APNU+AFC Government.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall today released to the public letters that were sent to the agencies.

“The Government of Guyana hereby requests a criminal investigation to be conducted into the said transactions and for all consequential legal recourses to be pursued including, the institution of criminal charges, where necessary,” the letters stated.

The Attorney General had said Sunday that the Government will be pursuing legal action against officials of the former administration.

In his Sunday press release, he named former Minister of Finance, Mr. Winston Jordan as vesting titles to land without full payment from individuals.

“It will be noted that except in one case, where 10 per cent of the purchase price was paid, a mere fraction of the purchase price was paid but Title was vested by former Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan. It will be further noted that each of the Title that was vested was done so after the 2nd March 2020 National and Regional Elections, which the APNU+AFC Government lost and each of the agreement of sale was entered into after the APNU+AFC Government lost a No-Confidence Motion, moved against them in the National Assembly on the 21st December 2018, and therefore, had no power to enter into agreements of sale or vest Titles, in relation thereto,” the release stated.

The AG said the distribution of state lands included prime, commercial and agricultural assets at the Wales Estate, West Bank Demerara; Ogle, East Coast Demerara and Peter’s Hall on the East Bank Demerara.

In earlier statements, Mr. Nandlall described the massive land transactions as “organised crime” and noted that every effort would be made to recover the lands.

A review by the Auditor General office had found that no legal course of action was followed in the distribution of the state assets.

“Certainly, no Expression of Interest published, no advertisement inviting persons to apply. No process whatsoever. What is [astonishing] is how persons were told that land is available for giveaway. You cannot look at any of the records and determine that Expressions of Interest were made,” the AG had said.

Several individuals and companies have already returned lands to the relevant agencies and have indicated they will await a new transparent process. [Extracted and Modified from DPI]