SOCU questions Volda Lawrence over APNU/AFC land giveaways

The Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), on Tuesday, interviewed Chairwoman of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Volda Lawrence in connection with the massive giveaway of State lands by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC).

After meeting with investigators, Lawrence told the media that she visited SOCU to offer clarifications after her name appeared on a document.

“It was just a clarification of a transaction that had my name on it and that was basically it and I decided I would come it and not to speak to people on the phone because I didn’t know who was it,” the politician told the media after being interviewed by investigators,” she said.

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP), since taking office back in August 2020, launched an investigation into the massive giveaway of State lands by the David Granger-led administration. So far, PNCR member and former Member of Parliament, James Bond has been fingered in the investigation.

Bond was the attorney who represented three companies at the center of the Peters Hall land investigation – Life 1 Pharms Incorporated, A-Z Pharmaceutical Medical Supplies and Equipment Inc and Arken Group – in the drafting of leases by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) for lands at Peters Hall, East Bank Demerara.

The leases were controversial in nature since they were in contravention of State laws which stipulate that when State lands are leased, the lease must state that the lessee must not part with possession without the consent of the State.

However, in this case, both Life 1 Pharms Incorporated and A-Z Pharmaceutical Medical Supplies and Equipment Inc – which both leased 15 acres of land each from NICIL at an annual rate of US$11,700 – flipped those lands to a Chinese national for just $100.

In the case of Arken Group – the proprietor of that company leased 20.8 acres of land for an annual fee of US$16,224 and had his address listed as the same as Bond’s. It was revealed that Bond then received US$1 million for the property after it was flipped to a local oil and gas company.