Sep 06, 2017
land deal with Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) in August 2014, but on the same day, within a space of a few hours, he turned around and under the watchful eyes of the agency, sold it to an overseas buyer.
With the blessings of CH&PA, without lifting a finger, Roopnarine ‘Ravie’ Ramcharitar made a whopping US$2M ($400M) profit on the spot.
The incestuous relationship involving the then management of CH&PA, a few businessmen and the members of the previous administration, are all coming out now and could involve charges.
Heading the Ministry of Housing in 2014 was former minister, Irfaan Ali.
Ramroop is a close friend of former President Bharrat Jagdeo. Ramroop’s companies, including New GPC, benefitted from billions of dollars of concession and contracts under questionable circumstances from previous administrations of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
The Coalition Government is sitting up and taking notice and likely to start taking actions as the matter could involve some criminal intent, a senior official disclosed yesterday.
According to CH&PA documents, on August 28, 2014, Director/Secretary of Luxury Realty Inc., Ramcharitar, a senior official in the Queens Atlantic Investment, signed off on documents which handed him rights to 28.8 acres of Providence lands.
That same day, August 28, 2014, the New York-based investor was made to pay a hefty price of US$2.8M (over $570M) for lands that were bought for just over US$800,000 ($173M).
The details are all contained in CH&PA documents that include the Agreement of Sale and Purchase.
Under the agreement, the Certificate of Title was to be transferred to Ramcharitar’s company, Luxury Realty Inc., after all the infrastructure works would have been completed.
Under the agreement, Ramcharitar was supposed to develop the lands purchased for the construction and sale of homes “only”.
Luxury Realty agreed to complete the infrastructure works in eight months.
From indications, no infrastructure works, including roads and drainage were done by Ramcharitar within that eight-month period that he was given.
CH&PA did not take actions for Ramcharitar breaching the timeframe conditions.
In fact, the documents indicate that the eight-month period passed without any sanctions.
CH&PA officials then accommodated representatives from Luxury Realty, and the overseas buyer, and conducted a sale in the CH&PA’s offices, Brickdam. The monies were paid over to Ramcharitar and his representatives.
There are no indications that the profit taxes were ever paid over by Ramcharitar to the Guyana Revenue Authority.
Ramcharitar, who was a former director of the Berbice Bridge, registered a company named Luxury Realty Inc. in October 2013. He was listed then as both the Director and Secretary.
That transaction was one of several questionable ones involving lands stretching from Eccles to Providence, sold to a number of close friends of the previous administrations. There were several hundreds of acres involved.
Several plots of those lands remained undeveloped despite conditions that construction of the infrastructure had to start within six months, in some cases.
The Coalition Government has started moving to repossess some of those lands.
Ramcharitar’s transactions, while benefitting from a sweetheart deal blessed by CH&PA, would mirror that of Tiwarie, owner of BK International.
Tiwarie’s company, Sunset Lakes Inc, managed to acquire 100 acres of lands not too far from Ramcharitar’s.
However, eight weeks after securing the lands from CH&PA for US$2.2M (approximately $440M), Tiwarie turned around and flipped the company to BaiShanLin for US$8M ($1.6B).
BaiShanLin is a Chinese investor that ran into trouble over its operations here and had its forest lands taken away by the Coalition Government.
BaiShanLin, now facing financial problems, was unable to pay Tiwarie the US$8M it promised and early last year, the businessman took BaiShanLin to court, asking for his balance of US$4M. Tiwarie also demanded back his company Sunset Lakes and wanted the court to forfeit the US$4M that BaiShanLin had advanced him.
There are more than 20,000 applications pending at the CH&PA, with Government announcing plans to build duplexes and apartments for low income families in the short term.
Large swaths of lands behind Republic Park and Providence have been sold under questionable circumstances to several private developers who were looking to cash in on the booming housing drive between 2010 and 2014.
CH&PA has been promising to go after the private developers for breaching their conditions, including the building of infrastructure like drains and roads.