FRAUD charges are expected to be instituted against People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) member and attorney, James Bond and NICIL’s former Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Colvin Heath-London, as police continue their probe into the award of State lands at Peter’s Hall, East Bank Demerara (EBD).
Bond, who is at the centre of several “deals”, remains in police custody and is being questioned in relation to conspiracy to defraud the State. Heath-London was released from police custody on Tuesday last.
Bond is accused of benefitting from land deals emanating from the sale of State lands while purportedly looking after the interest of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) which was presiding over the leasing of the lands.
Meanwhile, NICIL has formally requested that the Guyana Police Force (GPF) investigates a document as an alleged forgery after it was circulated in defence of its former Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Colvin Heath-London.
Heath-London was arrested on November 20, 2020. London’s legal team has laid all wrongdoings at the feet of former CEO, Horace James, now deceased.
Two businessmen embroiled in the scandal – Life 1 Pharms Inc. Director, Avalon Jagnandan, and Director of A-Z Pharmaceuticals Medical Supplies and Equipment Inc., Eddie Doolal – were arrested and reportedly told investigators that it was Bond who facilitated the deals which saw 30 acres of prime State lands being transferred to Chinese national, Jianfen Yu.
Furthermore, the businessmen reportedly also disclosed to police that it was Bond, not them, who received a hefty payoff from both deals, amounting to more than $100M.
Bond also reportedly received a US$1M payment from Trinidad logistics company, Lennox Petroleum, for the sale of 10 acres of land leased to ARKEN Group Inc.
In that deal, ARKEN and its principal leased from NICIL 20.3 acres of land at Peter’s Hall on May 9, 2018, for a 20-year period at US$16,224 per year.
ARKEN later sold the 10 acres to local logistics company, GLASS Holdings Inc. on October 10, 2019, for $200M.
Like the other deals, instead of the principals of the companies receiving the payment, it was Bond who received the funds.
In the aftermath of President Irfaan Ali’s Government taking office after a five-month battle following the March 2 elections, several companies have already returned lands, which were supposed to be developed.
This occurred after a significant number of irregular land transactions involving State properties, including former sugar lands worth billions of dollars, were discovered.
In these instances, investigators found that NICIL, as the representative of the people of Guyana for the transactions, did not even collect all the money when it transferred lands into the recipients’ names.
The police and its Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) are involved in the investigations.
SOCU’s role may involve investigating whether crimes relating to money laundering were committed.
The land transactions, which span Wales, Peter’s Hall and Ogle, have placed attention on a number of former ministers within the Coalition Government of David Granger, now in Opposition.
Meanwhile, Bond in a statement released to the media stated: “Eddie Doolall and Avalon Jagnandan have told some unbelievable untruths and have clearly succumbed to political pressure and greed. I think I’ve grown accustomed to betrayal by these Judas types… Their lying statements amount to nothing, I will be vindicated. I know they intend to charge myself and Mr London and use these Judases as witnesses. But I will prevail.”