The reading of a new misconduct charge brought by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) earlier this month against former Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh and former head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Winston Brassington was delayed yesterday due to the absence of the former minister.
Brassington, 50, of 118 Cowan Street, Kingston, was present before Georgetown Magistrate Leron Daly when the matter was called yesterday. Singh, 45, of Lot 129 Goedverwagting, East Coast Demerara, was absent but he was represented by attorney Anil Nandlall, who told the court that his client was out of the country although he will return to answer to the charge.
Given the fact that the matter involves a joint charge against both Brassington and Singh, Magistrate Daly adjourned the hearing until July 26th, when the Chief Magistrate will preside.
The new charge stems from the controversial sale of the former Sanata Textiles Complex to Queens Atlantic Investment Inc (QAII).
The charge against the duo, which was never read nor sworn to, alleges that Singh, performing the duties of Minister of Finance and Chairman of the NICIL, and Brassington, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NICIL, between October 26th, 2010 and December 20th, 2010 at Lot 126 Barrack Street, Kingston, Georgetown, by way of agreement of sale and purchase, acted recklessly when they sold the Sanata Textiles Complex with building and erections thereon, being 18.1871 acres, to QAII for $697,864, 800 plus VAT, knowing that the said property was valued at the sum of $1,042,403, 500 and was therefore sold at a price that was grossly undervalued, thereby creating a breach of their duties.
Like with the other sales, the sale of the former Sanata Textiles Complex to QAII occurred under the former Bharrat Jagdeo-led PPP/C government and faced immense scrutiny given the close link between the former president and QAII CEO Dr Ranjisinghi “Bobby” Ramroop.
A 99-year lease had been initially granted to QAII for the development of printing, dying and textile operations at the Sanata complex.
However, the group eventually bought the complex in 2010.