by Zena Henry
Beneficaries of the controversial Pradoville Two (Sparendaam) land allocations could come in for some inconvenience if the process is found not to be “above board.”
This was the indication of Minister within the Ministry of Communities Keith Scott, who has submitted the issue involving the once state-owned property to the Assets Recovery Unit.
The unit was set up to reclaim assets alleged to have been stolen, siphoned off or misappropriated by the former administration.
When contact was made with the minister Tuesday July 4, he explained that the allocation process saw no intervention by the Central Housing and Planning arm of the agency which is responsible for housing in the country.
He said since National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited(NICIL), a government holding company of State assets, dealt with the prime lands that were allegedly sold below the actual market price, he felt it was best to let the recovery unit handle that matter.
When asked if handing the matter over to the unit was done with the intent of reclaiming the properities if they were allocated illegally, Scott said, “they (unit) will have to do what they have to.”
He explained that the lands in the Sparendaam area where Pradoville is located is made up of state and communal lands. He said there is the possibility that some of the land privatised could be communal land.
He added that these lands are suspected to have been sold below market price, and it was never advertised to give other citizens an opportunity to access such prime property.
He said if it was below market price, “it is illegal. You are robbing the State, stealing its assets.”
He went on to say that assets in this regard is not just the land but the community had to be established with roads, lighting and water, suggesting the involvment of more state assets.
The Pradoville 2 occupants were said to have paid a mere $1.5m for the prime seaside lands.
In less upscale locations citizens are being asked to pay the same amount of money and even more, it was reported.
The property, at surface value, seemed to have been designated for suggested members and associates of the then PPP-government.
Living there are former president Bharrat Jagdeo, former Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon, former Education Minister Priya Manickchand, former Chief of Staff Gary Best and several former top ranking officials of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
Even PPP General Secretary and former Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee had defended his Pradoville 2 property Monday when he was asked how he got it. He said he was offered the property and he evaluated whether he could have afforded it and purchased it. Other tha. that, he did not know the specifics surrounding its availability.
Scott said however that, “If everything was done above board, they have nothing to worry about. If it is proven that it wasn’t, then they (unit) must do what they have to.” “They will see what can be done to get the assets back.”