Last Updated on Monday, 14 December 2020, 15:33 by Denis Chabrol
Criminal charges against Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh and Winston Brassington for allegedly “acting recklessly” in the GYD$900 million sale of government lands have been withdrawn.
They had been accused of facilitating the sale of government lands at prices lower than valuations.
The charges of had been instituted in April, 2018 under the then David Granger-led coalition administration against Dr. Singh. It is alleged that he had committed the offences while he had been Finance Minister under the then People’s Progressive Party Civic administration. At that time, Mr. Brassington had been head of the Privatisation Unit and the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL).
With the change in government, Dr. Singh and Mr. Brassington have returned to work with the government. Dr. Singh was recently appointed Senior Minister in the Office of the President responsible for Finance and Mr. Brassington is part of a committee that is spearheading the gas-to-shore project.
Dr. Singh, 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 had been 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. The third and similar charge also had 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.
Several fraud charges against Dr. Irfaan Ali were earlier this year withdrawn when he assumed the presidency.