The National Industrial & Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Special Purpose Unit (SPU) in a statement today, responded to a Facebook post captioned: “APNU+AFC engaged in large-scale corruption … as [Finance Minister] Winston Jordan signed off on the transferal of land …”
“We wish to remind the public that NICIL through the SPU, sold lands that were vested to it by the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. NICIL received deposits for the lands commencing December 2019, however, the transactions remained incomplete since the vesting orders were not ‘Signed and Gazetted’ as required by law and this meant that the remaining sums could not be paid over by the investors,” the SPU noted.
It added that following the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo)’s recent request to the Government for a bailout, NICIL was approached to assist the company.
“By now, the public must be aware that a $30 Billion bond backed by NICIL’s assets and guaranteed by the Government of Guyana was secured through NICIL to retrofit and revitalize GUYSUCO. We wish to remind too, that from July 2018 to February 2020, NICIL has disbursed $9,720,759,568 to GUYSUCO to fund its Capital and Operational Expenditure.
It is also common knowledge that GUYSUCO and the bond holders were in the process of ironing out some matters so that further disbursements could be had. But NICIL, having recognized the urgency of the request, sought to complete the land transactions. It therefore became necessary to regularize the Vesting Orders,” it said.
The company said that Jordan had no involvement in the selection of the investors, is not a member of the NICIL Board nor was he involved in the day to day business of NICIL or the SPU.
“We reject completely the insinuations and aspersions contained in the post. We hope that right thinking citizens will see that the Government and NICIL are committed to safeguarding the livelihood of the sugar workers and the industry,” SPU said.
The Opposition, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is on record accusing Jordan, of “illegally” granting approval for the transferal of over 100 acres of land. The party contends that the minister has no such power, given the severing of the incumbent’s legal arm by the No Confidence Motion that was passed in December 2018, rendering the government a “caretaker” regime, and the circumstances surrounding the treatment of ministers amidst an ongoing electoral process.
PPP/C Candidate and Attorney-at-law, Sanjeev Datadin presented several orders signed by Winston Jordan, as Minister of Finance, that collectively reflect the distribution of over 108 acres of State land to a mere 9 companies.
Datadin said that legally, Jordan can no longer sign off on State assets as he is no longer a Minister of Government. The attorney said that Jordan lost his power on several counts. He noted that the life of the APNU+AFC Cabinet came to an end at the passage of the No-Confidence Motion (Article 106).
Then, the dissolution of Parliament rendered all the seats of the National Assembly vacant. Also, Datadin mentioned Article 177 of the Constitution which deems the President to be the leader of the list with the most votes. “And, under Art 183 (3) (c), all ministerial appointments come to an end when any person is elected as President.”
Based on the documents provided by Datadin, the majority of the land was distributed on the East Coast of Demerara. They were signed by Jordan on June 11.
American Marine services got 20 acres, The Residence of Earl Court’s Inc got 30 acres, Caribbean Marketing Enterprise got 21 acres; Cardiology Services Inc got 8acres; Trinuyana Investments Inc got 19 acres; Supergraphics Enterprise got 5 acres Premier Sales Inc and Navigant Builders got 5 acres each, while the other companies got 1.5 acres or less.