NICIL maintains “Board Note” forged

Peters Hall land flipping…

– says receipts issued upon directive of Heath-London

The National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) is aggressively maintaining that the “Board Note” that is being circulated by now terminated Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Colvin Heath-London is false and that there are no records to prove that a decision was taken to sublease lands leased by NICIL.
The issue of subleased lands came to the fore after Attorney General Anil Nandlall revealed that A-Z Pharmaceuticals and Medical Supplies Equipment Inc, with its address listed as 1321 EE Eccles, East Bank Demerara, and Life 1 Pharms Incorporated listed as Grove, EBD, leased 15 acres of land each at Peters Hall, EBD, from NICIL for 20 years at a rate of US$11,700 per year.
Both companies by way of Deed of Assignment subleased the land to a Chinese national of Lot 43 Wellington Street, Georgetown, for just $100.
The State Lands Act of Guyana stipulates that when State lands are leased, the lease must state that the lessee must not part with possession without the consent of the landlord (the State) or shall not assign the interest in the lease without the consent of the landlord. If the lessee acts in contravention of that clause, then the State reserves the right to step in and repossess the lands.
However, in the case of the two agreements at Peters Hall, PNC member and Attorney-at-Law James Bond, in drafting the lease agreements, changed that to state: “the lessee may assign, sublet, grant any licenses or otherwise part with the possession and/or purpose and/or dispose of the whole or any part of the demised property or any building or other erection at any time standing thereon or any right or privilege in relations thereto conferred by this agreement.”
Since then, the police have been called in and an investigation is underway.
Heath-London was arrested as part of the investigation. By way of his attorney, Nigel Hughes, the former CEO said that the late CEO, Horace James, is the one who approved the subleasing of NICIL’s lands.
This accusation, however, was debunked by NICIL on Sunday, which claimed that the document which is currently circulating in the public domain and purports to be part of the minutes of NICIL’s Board Meetings, an official record of NICIL, is fake.
“This unsigned document has been carefully examined by NICIL and it has been concluded that it is neither a document emanating from NICIL nor is it part of the minutes of any Board Meeting of NICIL,” a release from NICIL had stated.
It further stated that NICIL’s Board Meetings are recorded and minuted by the company secretary in a particular style and format and all such minutes and records are kept by the company secretary.
On Monday, NICIL again released another statement in response to Heath-London’s legal team releasing receipts of payments made by the Chinese national who subleased the controversial properties. Hughes released an invoice issued by NICIL for rent addressed to Jianfen Yu (sublessee) for rent for Land Lease Plots A17, A18 and A19 for 2020 and the corresponding receipts.
“In the light of the contention by NICIL that document and decisions contained there were not recorded in any minutes of NICIL we merely invite your attention to the…documents which are attached to this Press Release and inquire whether NICIL was issuing invoices to sub-lessees for rent for documents and decisions it contends it was unaware of,” the statement read.
However, NICIL is contending that the receipts were drawn up and issued by NICIL’s Accounts Clerk upon being directly instructed to so do by Heath-London while he was Chief Executive Officer (Ag) of NICIL in July 2020. The Accounts Clerk has already submitted a statement supporting his contentions to the Guyana Police Force, NICIL informed.
“Additionally, it has not gone unnoticed that the decision contained in the alleged forged ‘Board Note’ is being attributed to Mr Horace James, former Chief Executive Officer of NICIL who is now deceased. It should also be noted that the members of the Board of Directors of NICIL in January 2018 at the time the alleged ‘Board Note’ was created were Dr Maurice Odle, Mr Oswald Barnes, Mr Berkley Wickham, Ms Sonya Roopnauth, and Mr Joseph Harmon.
“However, only Mr Horace James (deceased), Mr Colvin Heath-London, and Director Joseph Harmon were present as per the alleged “Board Note”. It must be emphasised that in January 2018, neither Mr Horace James (deceased) nor Mr Colvin Heath-London were Directors of NICIL. For all intents and purposes and based on all the records at NICIL duly examined, the meeting from which this purported Board Note allegedly emanated never occurred,” NICIL said on Monday.
NICIL has been taking flak for the leasing of several plots of land at Peters Hall by two companies, A-Z Pharmaceuticals headed by Eddie Doolall, and Life 1 Pharms Incorporated headed by Avalon Jagnanan. These lands were leased and then flipped for a profit.