As the Government threatens legal action against Cevon’s Waste Management Company over its purchase of government land on Mandela Avenue, the company’s Chief Executive Officer Morris Archer appears to be preparing himself for a legal battle.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall has written to the company demanding that it vacates the land by the end of March or face legal proceedings, claiming that the sale of the land by the Lands and Surveys Commission under the last Government was illegal.
But the CEVON’s CEO said there was nothing illegal about the purchase and he is dumbfounded over the move by the government.
Mr. Archer explained to News Source today that while the property was valued at $47 million, his company ended up paying $100 Million, which was more than double the value.
Since the purchase, the company has built its corporate headquarters on the land and has entered into a lease agreement with two other major companies for them to establish branches on the same stretch of land.
“We have followed all legal procedures in purchasing the land, we have purchased the land for $100 million. Prior to that, we had a valuation, a Government valuation for $47M, and you know we have paid over twice the amount of the valuation for the land.
He said there were no red flags about the purchase.
According to Archer, even after the purchase, there was no issue. He is surprised that the government which has been in power for the past six months would wait until he has completed his corporate headquarters and take up occupancy, to claim that the sale by a Government agency was illegal.
“We moved in about two or three weeks ago, you know as you see we are now operating from here. The thing is that nobody stopped us, nobody objected to using here and we have followed all the necessary guidelines, we were given this”, he made clear.
The Attorney General in his letter to the company is claiming that the land is owned by the National Sports Commission and is now needed for expansion by that Commission. He said it was never under the control of the Lands and Surveys Commission and as such the Commission had no right to make the sale.
But the business owner said he did all of the background checks before he made the big investment, adding that the Government never sought any explanation or raised any concern with him.
Mr. Archer said if he is forced to shut down his operations and give up the land, he will be also be forced to fire more than 200 staff members.
“We are here hoping because we are here to do business, and as I said to you before, our employment strength is over 234 person and we are hoping that the matter does not have to reach to situations like the Court. We are hoping that the matter could be resolved before that, because we believe that we made a genuine investment and as all Guyanese, what we do is genuine business”, he said.
In the past few months, the Attorney General has been writing to a number of big business owners who bought land under the previous government, threatening to take them to Court because according to him, the sales were not properly done. Some of the businessmen intend to challenge his demands.