Gov’t to bring legal action against former Finance Minister, others over land giveaway

Former Finance Minister, Winston Jordan
Former Finance Minister Winston Jordan and former NICIL Head Colvin Heath-London

In light of a number of questionable transactions that the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) administration entered into and which were approved by former Finance Minister Winston Jordan, the People’s Progressive Party government has indicated that it will be filing legal proceedings against him and his former underlings.

In a statement today, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall disclosed his office sought independent legal advice and the advice given is that the former Finance Minister along with recently sacked National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) head, Colvin Heath-London, acted recklessly, in bad faith with
full knowledge of the flagrant illegalities, which have resulted in millions of dollars of
losses to the State.

“As a result, the Attorney General will commence civil proceedings to, inter alia, recover the said parcels of land and claim compensation against those implicated, including, Minister Winston Jordan.”

“Additionally, each of these matters will be passed to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU), for their investigations and any consequential actions which may flow therefrom,” Nandlall made clear in the statement.

Attorney General Anil Nandlall

Data released by the Attorney General show that the pair have been transferring land worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to various companies with only a small fraction of payments being received. This was all done after the elections, at a time when the government should not have been engaged in any such transactions.

Between them, the pair vested almost 100 acres of prime state land in Ogle, East Coast Demerera (ECD) to eight different companies. The total value of the lands are some $2.9 Billion but NICIL only received approximately $64 Million in payments.

Three companies- Navigant Builders, American Marine Services and Guyana Oil Company Limited (GUYOIL) didn’t make any payments at all. However, Navigant Builders and American Marine Services have since signalled their intention to return the land vested to them.

Nevertheless, Nandlall reiterated the government’s commitment to treat fairly with companies who voluntarily return lands that were handed to them by the previous administration.