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PPP’s Nandlall about to challenge drug bond deal in High Court

Lawrence "Larry" Singh standing in front of the bond on 29 Sussex Street, Albouystown that he is renting government.

Lawrence “Larry” Singh standing in front of the bond on 29 Sussex Street, Albouystown that he is renting government.

Despite the Guyana government’s assurances that it was preparing to cut short the “undesirable” rental of a pharmaceutical bond from a city businessman, former Attorney General Anil Nandlall plans to file legal action to scrap the deal.

Nandlall said that in the first instance that the contract between the Ministry of Health and Linden Holdings, a company under the directorship of Lawrence “Larry” Singh, is illegal in the first place on several grounds. “My position is that the contract is unlawful and an unlawful contract must not stand,” Nandlall, an executive member of the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) told Demerara Waves Online News.

Asked why push ahead with legal action if government has recognised it has erred and allow the administration some space and time to take legal action, he said “there is only one remedial action that is available and that is to end the unlawful act.” He questioned if the government needs a year to find somewhere else to rent or lease, the taxpayer must “endure” GYD$12.5 million per month. “The government should terminate the contract and apologise to the public. That is the redeeming thing to do,” he said.

The PPPC's Shadow Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs makes a point in the National Assembly

The PPPC’s Shadow Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs makes a point in the National Assembly

Nandlall’s client, Majeed Hussain, has given Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Trevor Thomas until Tuesday, September 13, 2016 to annul the deal or he would challenge it in the High Court. Nandlall said the bond tenancy agreement was inked outside of and in violation of the Procurement Act because the rental is above the legal threshold. “It is as if the contract never occurred so the question of breach of contract cannot arise. One cannot sue for breach of a contract that is tainted with illegality,” he said. He added that the contract was entered into by a public officer, using public law functions, for the improper use of public funds. The Attorney-at-Law argued that the building was purchased for GYD$25 million and is being rented to government for GYD$12.5 million per month. “The law will never countenance such an exercise of indiscretion. That is an abuse of power,” he said.

The lawyer further contended that the property that is being rented as a bond is a “professional office space” rather than somewhere that is fit and proper for the storage of pharmaceuticals in accordance with internationally recognised standards. “There is no way that that facility can ever be suitable for the purpose of storing drugs so you are going to expose the people of this country to a public health disaster,” he said.

Contrary to initial assurances that government was satisfied that the facility located at 29 Sussex Street, Albouystown, Georgetown met key required international benchmarks for the storage of drugs, Nandlall countered saying that the temperature would be unsuitable.

Nandlall, who served as Attorney General up to May, 2016 when the PPP lost power, said the tenancy agreement erroneously refers to the Ministry of Health as a statutory body corporate. Instead, he said the contract should have been between Linden Holding and the Government of Guyana or an agency or organ of the State that has a “corporate personality and has the capacity to contract.”

The former Minister of Legal Affairs said the government’s latest public position that the agreement is “undesirable” was merely a half-hearted response to public pressure and outcry. “This government is shifting its position based on public criticisms,” at one time said it would continue with the contract.”

Singh, the former head of the flopped Tropical Airways airline in the  mid-1980s, is also the owner of Midtown Restaurant and Hotel at a property on Middle Street, Georgetown that once housed Ariantze Hotel and Sidewalk Café.

No one including government ministers, Joseph Harmon, Raphael Trotman and  George Norton, could say who told Singh that government needed to rent a pharmaceutical bond. Singh is a member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), the largest and most influential party in the David Granger-led coalition administration.

  • Emile_Mervin

    If a private citizen had filed this charge through a different lawyer, I’d understand. But to file the charge through a former Attorney-General who looked the other way while Jagdeo cronies licked up the treasury, state assets and natural resources makes a mockery of the attempt here.

    Not that I could defend Norton’s skulduggery, Jagdeo ‘gave’ away GPC and Sanata Complex to his bff, in addition to helping him acquire tv, radio, newspapers, major shares in the Berbice Bridge, then turned around and did billions in sole-sourcing business with his bff.

    Thanks to Jagdeo, and with help from people like Nandlall, the skimmed wealth of government was spread, even if unevenly, among the Jagabites!

    • rs dasai

      A different Lawyer does not make the matter different. Our AG is ready to rumble.

  • Gtloyal

    The government accepted that the deal has to be scrapped. Now this braying mammal will waste the courts time and more taxpayers money to get the same thing done. What is the reason for this? Be on the front page?
    These people don’t seem to realize that only their associates who partook in the looting of the nation and a couple aging indo guyanese followers will clap and rejoice at this. All others will just laugh at them and move a little further away.
    If there are any honest people in the PPP who want the party to survive, they must get rid of this dishonest clan that has arrogated the leadership role to themselves.

    • rudeo

      “….. couple of aging indo guyanese followers….”…!

      • Gtloyal

        Of course! The younger generations are not buying their lies nor allowing themselves to be manipulated. The majority are well informed and are seeking a better option.

  • Col123

    The PNC failed SO FAR to jail these guys ….even with evidence of corruption …. so they need to lay prone for the colonic lavage. When are we getting the next speech on unity govt from the Pres?…If the bandits and others learn how to steal during the last 23 yrs, I am at a loss why these smart govt folks couldn’t learn to cover their tracks with their attempt at corruption or “administrative error”…Were they asleep during their time in opposition? It is a shame and an embarrassment that they are taken to court for administrative error !

    • rs dasai

      It is the ‘covering of tracks’ we have hollered about of the PPPC Admin. The current ‘track artistes’ have not learnt how to use cover.

      • Col123

        Despite any cover up by the PPP during their govt, you know the PNC stated that they have evidence to jail many of those in the PPP … over 100 mil $ worth…well , this PPP guy is showing some cujones to take the govt to court instead….this is beyond comedy!