Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo today described as “frivolous”, the charges filed against former Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh and former NICIL Head Winston Brassington related to misconduct in public office.
The three charges relate to the sale of hundreds acres of land to three business persons for prices that were far below the valuation price. The sales took place in 2011.
It covers the sale of 103 acres of land to National Hardware for $598M, the sale of 10 acres of land to Multicinema at Turkeyen for $185M and the sale of land to Scady Business Corporation at a cost of $150M.
The charges were filed by the Special Organised Crime Unit. Today, Mr. Jagdeo said he was President at the time and therefore he accepts responsibility for the errors related to the sales, since the sales would have been approved by the Cabinet that he chaired.
He said the two men could not have set the price and execute the sale on their own and maintains that it was his cabinet that grant approval for the sale, even suggesting that perhaps the entire former Cabinet should be before the Courts.
He said that he is not surprised that after all of the talk by the current government about locking up members of the former government, they are resorting to “frivolous” charges.
“Where are the billions we were supposed to steal? That’s all you can charge on, procedural errors?”he questioned.
Mr. Jagdeo said he is surprised that SOCU has left out other large land transactions that took place around the same time, but he is convinced that the charges were only laid by the Government in its effort to please some hardcore supporters.
SOCU officially filed charges in the matter today. Both men now live out of Guyana and have been given three weeks to return to the country to face the charges in Court. They are being represented in the matter by former Attorney General Anil Nandlall, who is facing his own charges in the Court in relation to the alleged theft of Law Books from the AG’s Chambers.