Updated: May 27, 2022
Former Finance Minister Winston Jordan was arrested on Thursday by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) for questioning concerning the sale of several acres of land at Ogle, East Coast Demerara (ECD).
This was confirmed by SOCU Head, Senior Superintendent Fazil Karimbaksh during a brief telephone interview with this publication.
Presently, former Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC), Trevor Benn, is currently before the court to answer charges as it relates to the giveaway of lands at Ogle, ECD.
According to reports, the former Government vested almost 100 acres of prime State land in Ogle, ECD, to eight different companies at a total of $2.9 billion.
However, National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) only received approximately $64 million in payments.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, SC, Anil Nandlall, had stated that legal proceedings would be initiated against Jordan, who signed the vesting orders for the land and recently sacked NICIL Chief Executive Officer Colvin Heath-London, who was managing the agency at the time.
Jordan, who is expected to make another court appearance tomorrow, was slapped with misconduct in a public office charge and was released on $3 million bail.
On December 28, 2021, he was first arraigned in court. He was not required to plead to the charge, which alleged that while serving as Finance Minister under the APNU+AFC government and being the concerned minister for the government-owned National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), he, between February 26 and July 31, 2020, at Main Street, Georgetown, willfully misconducted himself by acting recklessly when he signed NICIL (Transfer of Property) Order, No. 50 of 2020, which was published in the Official Gazette of Guyana, transferring to and vesting to BK Marine Inc., all buildings, erections, stellings, platforms, and further appurtenances, at Mudlots 1 & 2, F of Mudlot 3, A, B & D, being over 2.553 acres, by paying $20,260,276, for a property valued over $5,000,000,000 and being sold at a price that was grossly undervalued to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust and without reasonable excuse or justification.
He is represented by fellow party members, attorneys-at-law, Roysdale Forde S.C., Khemraj Ramjattan, Joseph Harmon, and Darren Wade.
Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) prosecutor Tuanna Hardy had requested that the accused be tried summarily in the Magistrates’ Court. However, Jordan’s lawyers raised solid objections and emphasised their preference for a jury trial in the High Court.
This would mean that the matter would be the subject of a preliminary inquiry (PI) in the Magistrates’ Court, and once the magistrate finds that a case has been made, it will be sent to the Demerara High Court for trial before a judge and jury.