Former Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, Trevor Benn, was moments ago charged with fraud.
The particulars of the charge state that between the 1st day of January, 2018, and the 31st day of March, 2020, at Georgetown Lands and Survey Commission, Georgetown, in the Georgetown Magisterial District, in the County of Demerara, while being a Public Officer, that is to say, the Commissioner of Guyana Lands and Survey Commission, willfully misconducted himself by causing the sum of twenty seven million Guyana Dollars (GYDS27,000,000) to be paid by Janico Vide Industrial Engineering Limited for the lease of six (6) acres of land at Plantation Ogle, East Coast Demerara, knowing at the time that the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission did not have the authority to lease any land at Plantation Ogle, East Coast Demerara and thereby granted a Provisional Lease on 27th day of March, 2020, to the said Janico Vide Industrial Engineering Limited without any description, the said willful misconduct amounting to a breach of the public’s trust, without any excuse reasonable justification.
He was not required to plead as the charge is indictable, however, Senior Magistrate Leron Daly placed him on $200,000 bail.
He was represented by attorney-at-law Mark Waldron. Benn will make his next court appearance on March 31.
Guyana Standard understands that Benn was recently being questioned by investigators about a land transaction. Benn was arrested on Wednesday in connection to the controversial leasing of lands at Ogle, East Coast Demerara.
Benn received marching orders last year following the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) victory at the March 2020 polls. On August 7th, 2020, the administration announced that it will be reviewing all public land deals made by the APNU+AFC administration since December 21, 2018, following the passage of the no-confidence motion.
Yesterday Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon announced that the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) stands firmly in support of Benn who is currently embattled.
Harmon, after meeting with Benn at the Brickdam Police Station said that the former official’s arrest is “pure outright harassment”. The Opposition Leader said that Benn’s detention comes on the heels of statements made by then-opposition Leader now Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo, about “going after” Benn.
“This is expected; this is what he said he’s going to do. And so, this is nothing but any police investigation. This is pure, outright political harassment of Mr. Benn, and it comes after a long series of harassment of several other public servants who are carrying out their duties. This is not going to end well – it is not going to end well because I believe that the Guyanese people have had enough of this harassment,” he said.