Former Housing Minister highlights purposeful misrepresentation
… as CH&PA hauls Baishanlin boss to court
Sunset Lakes Inc, a company owned by controversial Chinese businessman, Chu Hongbo, has been hauled before the court by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) in order to repossess the 100 acres of land it had secured, as well as to rescind the Agreement of Sale.
News of the court action comes just days after a court appointed Receiver/Manager was appointed to sell off the lands in order to secure monies owed by Chu to a local bank.
Chu Hongbo, the General Manager of Baishanlin logging company, had purchased the shares in Sunset Lakes Inc from local business tycoon Brian Tiwarie who had originally secured the 100 acre plot of land aback the Providence National Stadium for the development of a housing scheme.
Chu was subsequently taken to court by Tiwarie over his failure to pay some US$4 million owed on the US$8 million transaction.
The Baishanlin boss subsequently had the property placed in receivership over his failure to make good on bank loans even as CH&PA has now commenced separate court action in order to repossess the property.
CH&PA, in a public missive on Wednesday, following recent reports over the advertised sale of the 100 acre plot of land by the Receiver/Manager, Nigel Hinds, said it has commenced court proceedings in an effort to repossess the plot of land, which was recently advertised for sale by Sunset Lakes.
The Housing Authority which falls under the Communities Ministry, in drawing reference to the advertisements inviting bidders to submit proposals for the purchase of the property, pointed out that “on July 20, 2017, CH&PA through an external attorney Robert Ramcharran, attached to the law firm Luckhoo and Luckhoo, initiated legal action in the High Court of the Supreme Court of Judicature against Sunset Lakes Inc.”
Among the demands from the CH&PA is a declaration by the High Court that it is entitled to rescind the Agreement of Sale and Purchase made and entered into, between the CH&PA and Sunset Lakes Inc on February 7, 2014, with respect to the property situated at Plantation Providence.
CH&PA is also petitioning the court for an order rescinding the said Agreement of Sale and Purchase made and entered into at Georgetown Guyana between the two entities and that the monies paid, some $458,180,000 be refunded.
The refund, according to the CH&PA demand, will be less the sum equivalent to 10 per cent as a penalty for breach of the terms and conditions of the said Agreement of Sale and Purchase.
CH&PA has also demanded an order directing the Registrar of Lands to recall and cancel Certificate of Title registered to Sunset Lakes Inc.
The transaction has in recent weeks attracted significant media scrutiny leading the then subject Minister, now Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee and Opposition Member of Parliament, Irfaan Ali, to lend his voice to the debate.
According to the former Minister with responsibility for the housing sector, “In relation to the Providence land, I continue to read with shock the continuous misrepresentation of facts by the Kaieteur News [KN]… These facts have been in the public domain on many occasions for years now.”
Lashing out at the KN newspaper, the former Minister questioned, “Why is it that you continue to ignore the fact that the names of all private developers were made public on many occasions… This is not a new discovery.”
According to Ali, the list was requested in the National Assembly and submitted even as he reminded that “all these proposals by developers and investors were responses from ‘expressions of interest’.”
He said too, the terms and conditions of all the contracts are the same and that all the developers are bounded by the same conditions.
“It is a total misrepresentation to suggest otherwise and at some point basic decency and honesty must be adhered to.”
According to the former Minister, the only motive of the then Housing Ministry was to facilitate private investment and capital in expediting and expanding the housing and construction sector to the benefit of the economy.
“In relation to how companies are owned and operated, the Ministry did not involve itself in the operations of the developers… The conditions of sale is listed in the agreement with the developers and any Government can act based on the agreement,” he contended.