Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall has threatened to sue former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Minister Jaipaul Sharma if he fails to retract and issue an unconditional apology for defamatory remarks he made about him in a Facebook post.
In a letter seen by this publication that has been dispatched to Sharma, Nandlall’s lawyer, Rajendra Jaigobin said that Sharma made the post via his personal Facebook account. Sharma, according to the letter, admitted to Nandlall via a telephone conversation that he indeed made the post.
In the post, Sharma referred to the PPP/C Government as “hypocritical” for going after People’s National Congress (PNC) Executive Member and Attorney-at-Law James Bond and others for questionable land deals using the office of the Attorney General.
Sharma claimed that the Attorney General Office, Guyana Police Force, and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) are filled with cases of questionable land sales and breach of land development contracts under the previous PPP/C Government.
The former APNU/AFC Minister claimed that Nandlall has turned a blind eye on these cases. He said that he further wished to remind the Attorney General that his law firm, Mohabir A Nandlall & Associates was involved in some of these land transactions in which a large plot of land was transferred a few days after David Granger was sworn in as President in 2015.
Jaigobin said that Nandlall spoke with Sharma and requested the source of the information he published via his social media account. However, Sharma told him that he should “read same in a Forensic Audit Report of the Ministry of Housing/Central Housing and Planning Authority done by Attorney-at-Law and Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram.”
According to Jaigobin, he has already contacted Ram requesting a copy of the report. He said that Ram has since informed the Attorney General that he cannot recall his report containing any such or similar publication of and concerning him or the law firm. Jaigobin has informed Sharma that his publication is not only libellous, but malicious and completely false and is causing damage to the standing of the law firm, to which he is attached, and to the reputation of the Attorney General.
Through his lawyer, Nandlall has demanded that Sharma retract the offensive publication and issue an apology immediately to him and the law firm. He is also requesting that the apology be posted on Sharma’s Facebook account. Nandlall informed that he reserved the right to institute legal proceedings against Sharma, however, the apology may mitigate the quantum of compensation the firm is seeking.
The massive conspiracy to give away prime State lands by the former APNU/AFC Government came to light late in October with documents showing that Bond collected US$1 million for lands at Peters Hall, East Bank Demerara. Nandlall had revealed that Bond, who was at the centre of the questionable transactions, was listed as the lawyer on record for the drafting of three contracts.
The attorney general revealed that in one instance, 20 acres of land was leased for 20 years to a company with its address listed as Third Street, Alberttown, Georgetown. The lands referred to as Plots A1, A2, A3, and A4 amounted to 20.8 acres, which were not valuated before the signing of the lease on May 9, 2018, for an annual fee of US$16,224.
The land was later sold to a company connected to the oil and gas industry for US$1 million, which did not go to the owner, rather to Bond who is the attorney on record. Nandlall had said that the address for the company is the same address that the PNC Executive has listed on his bank account as his place of residence. The PPP/C Government is investigating all land deals conducted under the coalition.
In a previous interview, Nandlall had told this publication that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Guyana Police Force’s other investigative arms including the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) are likely to get involved, as money laundering may very well be a component of the probe.