Govt spent US$5M to rehab Sanata, then sold it to Ramroop for US$3.4M – Audit report reveals
By Abena Rockcliffe
The term “friends with benefits” was magnified in a section of the National Industrial and Commercial
Investments Limited (NICIL) audit report which confirmed that Dr. Ranjisingh ‘Bobby’ Ramroop—best friend of former President Bharrat Jagdeo—was able to grab the Sanata Complex at a gift price.
The report also highlighted NICIL’s admittance that it sold the property to Dr. Ramroop at a valuation price of what the property was worth before large sums were spent on renovation.
NICIL sold 18.891 acres of land with buildings and erections at the Plantation Ruimveldt for US$3.4M to Queens Atlantic Investments Inc. (QAII) in 2010. Kaieteur News understands that this sale recorded a major loss for the State as pre-sale rehabilitation works on the complex had cost close toUS$5M with US$2M being spent on the removal of asbestos alone.
Chartered Accountant and former Auditor General, Anand Goolsarran, had highlighted the sale of the property in his forensic audit report on NICIL.
He said, “By Order No. 40/2010 dated November 29, 2010, NICIL sold 18.891 acres of land and buildings and erections at the Plantation Ruimveldt (Sanata Textiles) to Queens Atlantic Investments Inc. (QAII) for $689 million (US$3.4M). The note on NICIL’s publication reads: After being advertised for sale but no proposals was received, in mid- 2007, a proposal was received from QAII for the development of the compound with a US$27 million investment plan.
The proposal was for a lease with an option to purchase. At the time of the proposal NICIL was facing
continued vandalism and destruction to the property despite the presence of security. In 2007, following the requisite approvals, a lease was issued and in 2010 having satisfied all the conditions precedent to exercise the option to purchase, the property was sold at the current market valuation of the property before the improvements were implemented”
NICIL’s Executive Director, Winston Brassington, and the Executive Chairman of QAII, Dr Ramroop, in a joint missive, had stated that the privatization of Sanata had taken the form of the issuance of a 99-year lease at a substantive rental of approximately $50M per year.
However, there was nothing in Goolsarran’s report that proves that Dr. Ramroop had indeed been paying the cost for the lease.
Following the acquisition of this property, QAII reported that its assets more than doubled.
The company’s 2010 Financial Statements, which were inked by the Group’s head and best friend of former President Bharrat Jagdeo, Ramroop, verified that the group’s total assets for 2009 were $3.6B. It skyrocketed to $7.9B in 2010. A property bought for only $689M hiked QAII’s more than $4B higher.
Rehabilitation and construction of the facilities which commenced in June 2007 were said to be phased over a three-year period.
Until it was sold, Sanata was leased to and managed by the China Textiles Industrial Corporation for Foreign Economic and Technical Cooperation of China.
In 2000, the assets of the company were brought under the control of NICIL and subsequently a new company,
G&C Sanata, was established.
Queens Atlantic Investment Inc. was incorporated in Guyana in 1999..
The Government of Guyana in 2008 approved the privatization of the Sanata Textiles Complex (Sanata), Industrial Site, Georgetown to QAII for the purpose of establishing a multi-purpose investment complex.
Dr Ramroop at the time had intimated that he envisaged an overall investment of US$30M and the creation of 1200 jobs of which 600 new, permanent jobs would become a reality by the end of 2008. This never materialized.