Nandlall calls for criminal charges in relation to Govt’s sale of Guyana Stockfeeds’ shares
Former Attorney General and Member of Parliament of the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C), Anil Nandlall is of the firm view that Government’s sale of its shares in Guyana Stockfeeds Inc. to Robert Badal should also warrant the institution of criminal charges as the transaction is identical to ones in which former Government Ministers were charged with and are currently facing before the courts.
In a post on social media, the legal luminary posited that Government, through its spokesperson Joseph Harmon, outlined that Cabinet approved the sale of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) shares to Badal, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company.
According to Nandlall “There was no mention whatsoever of how the purchase price for these shares were arrived at. There was no mention whatsoever that a Certificate of Valuation was used to determine the purchase price of these shares. The shares were sold at $25, each.”
He then explained that “When one compares this with the transactions, which formed the basis for the criminal charges instituted against Dr Ashni Singh, former Minister of Finance and Winston Brassington, former CEO of NICIL, one would see quickly that they were virtually identical.”
Singh and Brassington are accused of selling various properties at prices the State contends were grossly undervalued.
However, the former Attorney General expounded that “They were public advertisements for those transactions and the properties were sold based on the highest bids received. Each transaction received the approval of Cabinet. Therefore, if Singh and Brassington committed criminal offences then fairness and justice would demand that charges be, immediately, instituted in respect of the Stockfeeds’ purchase of shares.”
Government agreed to accept around $136,000 for the NICIL shares in Guyana Stockfeeds.
“If the Government is to obtain a valuation certificate from the very Valuation Officer (Rodrigues and Associates), whose name is mentioned in the charges against Singh and Brassington, I have no doubt that those shares would be valued several billion dollars” said Nandlall.
The PPP/C Executive Member also reminded that the situation is further exacerbated by the fact that that in 2008, the High Court ruled that the Government owns 38% of that company.
The Court of Appeal then overturned the High Court decision, last year, and reduced the Government’s 38% shareholding to 7%.
He noted that the incumbent APNU/AFC Administration then refused to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), “thereby essentially gifting Stockfeeds billions of dollars by allowing the Government shareholdings to remain at 7%.”
“At the time, the PPP in a public statement, called upon the Government to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal to the CCJ. The PPP pointed out Badal’s close relationship with the AFC and alleged that this was a payback for donations made to the political campaign of the APNU/AFC. Our calls were ignored” said Nandlall in his social media post.
Touching on the recent charges instituted against former Housing Minister Irfaan Ali, Nandlall posited that he was “charged with Conspiracy to Defraud and when one carefully considers the facts of the sales of these shares, it reeks of a conspiracy to defraud the State of billions.”
Nineteen charges deemed politically trumped-up were on Wednesday last instituted against Ali by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), in a move the parliamentary Opposition and the International Centre for Democracy (ICD) have criticised and deemed “victimisation of a political opponent”.
His arrest and subsequent charges stemmed from the sale and transfer of lands located in Sparendaam, East Coast Demerara (ECD), commonly known as “Pradoville 11”.
According to Nandlall a formal complaint to the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) will be made shortly in relation the Stockfeeds’ purchase.
“We will see whether criminal charges will flow” he said.