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Former Finance Minister Ashni Singh, NICIL Head Winston Brassington charged in connection with GY$900 million land sales

Former Finance Minister, Ashni Singh

Former Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh and former Head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL)/ Privatisation Unit, Winston Brassington were Thursday given until early next month to make an appearance in connection with the sale of three plots of land for a total of more than GY$900 million.

Three charges of alleged misconduct in public office were not read by Chief Magistrate, Ann Mc Lennan when the case was called because the accused men were not present in court. However, the witness swore to the evidence in the case whose Special Prosecutor is Attorney-at-Law, Michael Sommersaul.

The Chief Magistrate deferred the case until May 7, 2018 for report to allow the defence lawyers to contact their clients concerning the charge of “misconduct in public office” contrary to common law.

Appearing for Dr. Singh was Attorney-at-Law, Anil Nandlal. Brassington is represented by Attorney-at-Law, Stanley Moore. “People make bad judgment all the time; you don’t go to jail for that,” remarked Nandlall.

Attorneys-at-Law, Stanley Moore and Anil Nandlall outside the Georgetown Magistrate’ Court.

In the charges seen by Demerara Waves Online News, Singh- in his capacity as then Finance Minister and NICIL Chairman- and Brassington on May 14, 2011 by way of an agreement of sale and purchase “acted recklessly when they sold Multicinema Guyana Inc. a 10 acre tract of State land at Turkeyen for GY$185,037,000 without first having procured a valuation from a competent valuation officer.

Similarly, they are accused of selling 103 acres of state land, by an agreement of sale and purchase, to National Hardware Guyana Limited for GY$598,659,398 (VAT exclusive) with first procuring a valuation.

Former Head of NICIL, Winston Brassington.

The third and similar charge also has to do with the sale of 4.7 acres of land for GY$150 million to Scady Business Corporation, “knowing that the said property was valued at GY$340 million by Rodrigues Architects Associate, a competent valuation officer.

Nandlall said persons would assume that, for example Eddie Boyer, of National Hardware obtained the land cheaply but “you should have seen the land when the man went there”, including the presence of squatters.