The Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) is yet to be informed that South American Woods is seeking the removal of the restrictions on the use of land it bought from GuySuCo at Leonora.
Stabroek News understands that since the sale of the land in 2011, the GL&SC has not been contacted to have the terms of the sale readjusted prior to South American Wood’s engagement in the development of a housing project and not the wood processing factory for which it had purchased the land at just over $80 million. The sale of the land for only $80 million was based heavily on the intention by South American Woods to build a wood processing factory which would create jobs.
Under the Lands Registry Act Section 112 (1) “the proprietor of any registered land may apply to the Commission for the removal in whole or in part from the register of any easement or restrictive covenant which has been abandoned or extinguished.”
Stabroek News was told that an investigation would need to be done to further scrutinise what the restrictive covenants were under the deal and what ramifications there would be for South American Woods if an inquiry found a breach.
This was echoed by GuySuCo Company Secretary Frederick Singh. He told Stabroek News during a telephone interview that further questions could be sent to the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Ltd (NICIL), which acted as the agent for the sale of the land in 2011.
NICIL, in a statement, has revealed that GuySuCo, in fact, “entered into a Restrictive Covenant as set out in the terms and conditions of the sale, published in the Vesting Order effecting the transfer of title,” and that “the property shall not be used for any other purpose other than for the construction and operation of a wood processing facility with the option of future development in manufacturing, industrial and commercial activities including the construction and operation of shopping mall, providing that the construction of the wood processing facility is commenced first” and “that construction of a wood processing facility shall commence within one year of the execution of this agreement.”
The statement added that neither the Government, GuySuCo nor NICIL is aware of any changes to the agreement. It is unclear who bears the responsibility for investigating the apparent breach.
Proprietor of South American Woods Inc, Guyanese-born real estate fraudster Edul Ahmad purchased the 17 acres of land at Block ‘R’ Leonora (formerly Plantation Groenveldt) in February 2011 for $80 million. The sale of the GuySuCo land had provisions in place that investors were bound by certain commitments to ensure industry growth and job creation. Stabroek News was told Ahmad was away on business when this publication reached out to his New York offices.
Ahmad pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud charges in the United States in October 2013. He faces over 10 years in prison and over US$15 million in restitution and fines.