Coalition gave away prime lands at Wales Estate, Ogle and Peter’s Hall – AG Nandlall
The distribution of State lands by the Coalition saw prime commercial and agricultural lands given away. This was done at the Wales Estate, West Bank Demerara; Ogle, East Coast Demerara and Peter’s Hall on the East Bank Demerara.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall made these statements in an interview with the Department of Public Information on Monday.
“These are lands that are valued millions of US dollars and have been gifted away by leases and or by title for peppercorn consideration, meaning nothing compared to what they are actually valued,” the AG stated.
The AG said it was discovered as the administration is currently conducting a review of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), over the last five years.
What is more appalling, he said, is that the lands have since been divested from the original recipients to third parties.
It was highlighted that 15 acres of commercial land located at Peter’s Hall was leased to Life One Farms Incorporated. The company, the Minister said, owns no assets and pays US$11,700 plus value-added tax annually for a period of 20 years.
When State lands are leased, the AG said, it should say that the lessee should not part with the land without consent of the landlord as outlined in the State Lands Act.
However, the land was divested to another individual, without consent, for GY$100. The same thing occurred with other lands which were leased in the area the Minister said. He also noted that most of the leases were written up by one lawyer.
“These files are going to be passed to the police and an explanation will have to forth come because I cannot imagine how a person would pay US$11,000 which by itself is a great undervalue for the land, the lease is altered that does not reflect the standard provisions in state land leases which allows the lessee to divest and does not divest for more but divest for $100 Guyana dollars,” the AG stated.
The actions by the Coalition clearly point to money laundering and fraud, which is the reason why an investigation will be carried out, the AG said.
Nevertheless, the Minister said, the investigations are not meant to deter persons who genuinely want to acquire land for the right purposes. However, he stressed that the transaction must be transparent and companies must be able to deliver on projects they propose.