– NICIL says deals to finance $30B GUYSUCO bond
De facto Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, signed away 130 acres of prime lands situated on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) to several entities, all on the same day – June 11, 2020.
Information about the sales was posted and circulated on Facebook, with concerns that the Coalition Government may be engaging in a massive giveaway of lands before demitting office.
The National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) responded to the matter, to give context to the sales and to state that Minister Jordan had no involvement in the selection process.
NICIL is the entity charged with handling investments on behalf of the state.
The first post appears to have been made by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C’)s Facebook page, which states: “The APNU+AFC is engaged in large-scale corruption and massive transferral of state lands. Here Winston Jordan signed off on the transferral of land to cronies of the coalition.”
Attached were photos of the vesting orders, signed off by Minister Jordan.
The lands were handed over to Bosai Minerals Group (Guyana) Incorporated (General Manager, Eric Yu); Premier Sales Incorporated; American Marine and Services Incorporated; Trinuyana Investments Incorporated (Director, John Aboud); Cardiology Services Incorporated; Supergraphics Enterprise (Owner, Eton Cordis); Navigant Builders (Owner, Danny Sawh); Caribbean Marketing Enterprise Incorporated (Director, Mike Elliot); GUYOIL (CEO, Renatta Exeter); and Earl’s Court Incorporated.
Kaieteur News spoke to a principal of one of the companies mentioned, who said that his company had made an initial payment earlier this year.
Another principal, Sawh, told Kaieteur News that he has not made any payments on the acreage for Navigant Builders, a subsidiary of Windsor Estates.
The post was shared hundreds of times on Facebook, including by the party’s general secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, and sparked discussion about whether the protraction of the electoral process may be part of a ruse.
This newspaper had reported just days ago that the Government is in a mad rush to legalise land deals for hundreds of acres of lands in prime locations on the ECD, and the circulated vesting orders began to mount suspicions over how so many acres of land were sold out in just a single day.
In its response, sent out late yesterday, NICIL called the PPP/C’s Facebook post misleading, stating that it rejects the aspersions and insinuations contained in the post.
NICIL posited that Jordan had no involvement in the selection of the investors. It also stated that Minister Jordan “is not a member of the NICIL Board nor is he involved in the day to day business of NICIL or the SPU.”
However, according to vesting orders, Jordan’s signature appears.
In a bid to give context to the sales, NICIL said: “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.”
It added that despite December being the commencement of the financial transactions, they were incomplete as the vesting orders were not signed and Gazetted, as the law requires.
NICIL said that it was necessary to have the orders Gazetted so that the investors could complete their payments, and so that NICIL could procure finances for the $30B GuySuCo bond.
“By now,” NICIL said, “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,” NICIL said, following a request by GuySuCo for a Government bailout.
NICIL said that it recognised the urgency of GuySuCo’s request and sought to complete the land transactions, noting that “GUYSUCO and the bond holders were in the process of ironing out some matters so that further disbursements could be had.”
That is why, the agency said, it became necessary to regularize the vesting orders.
Up to press time, the orders were not published on the website of The Official Gazette.