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…wants an injunction until the hearing of its application
Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde has asked the High Court to strike out the case against former Finance Minister Winston Jordan which revolves around the sale of prime properties in North Cummingsburg, Georgetown to BK Marines, on the grounds that the action is vindictive of political harassment.
Forde is the lead Attorney for the former Finance Minister in the High Court case –
Attorney General, Anil Nandlall vs BK Marines and others – which challenges the sale of Mud-Lots 1 and 2 situated in Cummingsburg, Georgetown; Lot ‘F’ – a portion of Mud-Lot 3 also situated in North Cummingsburg and ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘D’ portions of North Cummingsburg to BK Marines.
In his initial submissions, Forde told the Court that the case against Jordan is indicative of political harassment. He has now moved to the Court seeking a number of Orders, chief among which is an order dismissing the case against Jordan.
Forde, in a Notice of Application filed recently, told the Court the action taken against Jordan is an abuse of process, frivolous and vexatious and scandalous, and as such, ought to be dismissed. He also wants an order stating that the action instituted against the former Finance Minister is not only an abuse of process, but politically motivated, vindictive, spiteful and an abuse of power.
In the interim, the Senior Counsel wants the Court to grant an order staying the substantive matter until the hearing and determination of the Notice of Application.
In support of his application, Forde explained that NICIL, by Vesting Orders No. 43 of 2003 and 42 of 2005, was the owner of the identified properties. This meant that the lands together with all of the buildings, erections, stellings and platforms among other facilities were part of the national patrimony of Guyana at all material times.
It was further noted that in 2006, the then Head of NICIL, Winston Brassington entered an agreement with Brian Tiwarie, on behalf of the BK Marines, for the property described in Transport No. 530. The agreement paved way for a 20-year lease with the understanding that BK Marines had the option to purchase the property for the sum of $110M. The agreement also included four other clauses – Rent, Penalty for non-payment of rent, specified use of demised unit and Lessee’s covenants.
It was submitted that base on the agreement, Jordan did not act in breach of any fiduciary duty or colluded with the other defendants, when he signed the Vesting Orders.
“The Second Named Defendant did not collude and conspiracy with the Fourth Named Defendant nor acted in a reckless and negligent manner, in gross dereliction of his duty as a Minister and in breach of his Constitutional and Fiduciary duty to the State and people of Guyana in proceeding with a Vesting Order having full knowledge and being aware that First Named Defendant only paid ten (10%) percent of the purchase price which was $20,260, 276 for property valued at approximately five billion Guyana dollars,” Forde submitted.
He said at all times, Jordan acted in accordance with the law.
As Minister with responsibility for Public Corporations, Jordan, Forde said, was authorized to act under Section 8 of the Public Corporation Act.
That Act states: “The Minister, may by order, transfer to a corporation or to any other person, or place under its or his control the whole or part of (a) any undertaking or any other property of any corporation or any other person or other body corporate owned by the State or in which the controlling interest is vested in the State or any agency on behalf of the state; Any commercial, manufacturing or research undertaking of the State. The corporation, other body corporate or undertaking affected by an order made under subsection (1) shall comply with any directions which may be given to it by, or under the directions of the minister, so as to give effect to the order.”
It was made clear that Jordan’s only duty as Minister with responsibility for Public Corporations was to sign the necessary Vesting Order following Cabinet’s approval.
“There is no duty laid upon the Second Named Defendant as the Minister with responsibility for Public Corporations to exercise any Judgment and or to make any assessment as to the terms of any Sale, inclusive of the question of the nature and extent or suffering of any sale of State assets,” Forde argued.
He further clarified that Jordan was never part of the negotiations and decisions made and or entered into between BK Marines and NICIL.