By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Former Attorney General (AG), Anil Nandlall is baffled that the APNU+AFC government is accusing the PPP of being corrupt in a land deal between convicted fraudster Edul Ahmad and Former President, Bharrat Jagdeo.
Nandlall, who is now a PPP Parliamentarian, told a news conference at Freedom House on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 that at the time of the deal, he was the lawyer representing Ahmad.
He explained that the project aimed to construct a hotel along with a strip mall and international restaurants and that the process was entirely legal.
“I don’t know where is the corruption… I am yet to see where the corruption is…I recall that there were several agencies that were involved in this matter; the Mayor and City Council because they had to approve a plan and they did it; the Lands and Surveys had to prepare a lease and they did it; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had to give certain permissions and they did it,” Nandlall said.
He reiterated that all legal requirements were compiled with, explaining that “The reason the project did not go through as far as I can recall was because there was a mis-description of the property; the investors wanted an area of land not less than five acres…the investor relinquished his interest with the project and handed back the lease and did what was necessary to give back the land to the State. He did not proceed with the project so I am at a loss in terms of identifying which component of this project reeks of corruption.”
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon at a recent post cabinet press briefing revealed that Ahmad had leased a prime piece of real estate for just $500,000 annually in 2008. The transaction, which would usually take months, was completed in a matter of seven days even while the property was the subject of a court dispute.
Harmon stated that government had moved to reclaim the property – a statement which Jagdeo declared as false – positing that the land deal with Ahmad was cancelled since 2009.
But PPP Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira believes that Harmon was too eager to reveal corruption by the PPP that he misinformed the public.
She told reporters at the news conference that “He [Harmon] jumped the gun and he got egg on his face. He jumped the gun because he was so anxious to show the wicked Jagdeo and the wicked, corrupt PPP that he jumped so fast and so high that he got egg on his face. Now he doesn’t know how to get the egg off his face and he’s saying to Jagdeo, you bring the evidence.”