Sunset Lakes, the 100-acre Providence, East Bank of Demerara property sold by Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) to Brian Tiwarie, has been repossessed by Citizens Bank and sold to Tamesh Jagmohan of Precious Mining Inc. for over $1 billion.
Works have started again at the site in preparation for the resale of individual lots, even as the CH&PA mulls its next step after losing a High Court case challenging the bank’s sale of the property following a defaulted mortgage.
“Agreement of sale and purchase was made on October 9th with Precious Mining Inc. There was a bidding system, which saw seven bids and that company made the best bid. It was sold for between 1 and 2 billion, 50% of which has been paid,” a source close to the process told this newspaper yesterday.
The lands were sold by Nigel Hinds, who was acting in the capacity of receiver/manager for Citizens Bank Guyana Inc.
In late August, a full-page advertisement appeared in all of the daily newspapers announcing that the 100 acres were up for sale and that accountant Hinds had been appointed Receiver-Manager of Sunset Lakes Inc.
Shortly after, the CH&PA announced that it had taken to the court seeking the rescinding of the 2014 sale to Tiwarie, who later sold a swathe to Chu Hungbo, of controversial Chinese logging company Baishanlin.
The CH&PA issued a press release disclosing that on July 20th of this year, it commenced court proceedings to repossess the land.
CH&PA’s Chairman Lelon Saul, when contacted by this newspaper, explained that his agency lost its bid through the High Court to have the lands returned for outstanding payments and a breach in contract.
“The court ruled on the side of the bank, Citizens Bank, and the law caters for the receiver to draw down on a defaulting mortage. They said that CH&PA’s case with Sunset Lakes meant a breach in contract,” Saul said.
Stabroek News visited the Providence location yesterday and work was ongoing. The lands that had were once taken over by grass were cleared as were blocked drains. Workers at the site explained that they started working about one month ago and were contracted by the new owner, Jagmohan, who owns gold mining companies.
Their foreman, Mark (only name given), said that he could not comment on the project and pointed this newspaper to his boss’ office, which is located next door to the United States Embassy on Young Street in Kingston.
Stabroek News visited the office and was told by Jagmohan’s secretary that he was in a meeting. She took the reporter’s contact details and promised to return a call after she had spoken to her employer. She later returned a call and said that she was not au fait with the Sunset Lakes deal but spoke with the relevant persons who told her that “at this time they can’t really say anything because there is still a pending litigation….”
Further, she informed that Jagmohan was also part owner of Sunset Lakes.
She said that “as soon as the matter was sorted out their [Sunset Lake’s] PR person will contact you.”
One source explained that Jagmohan and Tiwarie are partners in Sunset Lakes but would not go into details as to why a party in the partnership would purchase the very lands that the company has taken Baishanlin to court for to collect outstanding payment.
According to the available information, Tiwarie had signed an agreement via his Sunset Lakes Inc. Company with the CH&PA to purchase and develop the 100 acres of land at a cost pegged at $475 million. He paid a quarter of the sum and had six months to pay off the balance.
In 2014, Tiwarie went into partnership with Chu Hongbo and it was agreed that Chu would pay him US$8 million, then $1.8 billion, and develop the site. As part of the agreement, Tiwarie would also get to keep some of the house lots in the gated community for his personal use.
However, Tiwarie took Chu to court in 2016 for the balance of US$4 million on the agreed purchase price. He has maintained that the lands were never sold wholly to Chu as he remained a part of the partnership and since Chu defaulted, he should have either gotten his due amounts of the equivalent in lands.
In 2014, Baishanlin had promised some 400 luxury homes on the 100-acre gated community at Providence. However, with debts piling up and regulators clamping down on it, the project went bust. The planned housing scheme appeared to have taken on significant local debt.
At what was dubbed the New Life Community project, houses were to start at $28 million and go for up to $105 million.
But Citizens Bank Guyana Inc., which claimed it was owed for a loan on the 100-acre property, appointed Hinds as its receiver as it sought to recoup its money. The loan was granted over the last two to three years.
CH&PA laid claims to the lands and on July 20th of this year, through attorney Robert Ramcharran who is attached to the law firm Luckhoo and Luckhoo, it initiated legal action in the High Court against Sunset Lakes Inc. for the property.
In the proceedings, the Authority sought a declaration that it was entitled to rescind the Agreement of Sale and Purchase made and entered into with the company on February 7th, 2014.
Further, the Authority asked the court to grant an order rescinding the said Agreement of Sale and Purchase and an order that the Authority refund to the company the of sum of $458,180,000, the value it paid for the land, less the 10% payable as a penalty for the alleged breach of the terms and conditions of the said agreement of sale and purchase.
But an irked Hinds said that CH&PA’s case lacked merit and proceeded to make preparations for the sale of the property as he was confident in the bank’s case being won.
From information gathered, sources say that the lots at the gated community would “soon” be on the market for resale and that a “blueprint is already drawn up and waiting on the go ahead” to be made public.