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Charges against Ashni Singh, Winston Brassington withdrawn

The charges filed by the Special Organised Crime Unit against Dr Ashni Singh and former Chairman of the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) Winston Brassington,  were withdrawn this morning after SOCU Prosecutors indicated to the court that they did not wish to proceed with the matters. Singh is currently minister with responsibility for Finance while Brassington is now head of the Gas-to-Shore Taskforce.

 

The withdrawal of the charges comes weeks after Chief Justice Roxane George dismissed a challenge to the legality of the charges filed by lawyers for the two Government officials.  Dr Singh and Brassington had argued that the charges laid against them by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), were politically motivated and without merit. As such, they had asked the High Court to quash the charges. It was in April 2018, that Dr Singh and Brassington were charged with misconduct in public office over the sale of several plots of state lands below the market value. Charges were recommended against them after SOCU completed its investigations into the controversial Pradoville 2 Housing Scheme at Sparendaam on the East Coast of Demerara, and sent a file to the police legal advisor. Dr Singh and Brassington were each ordered to post $6 million bail following their appearance before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan back in 2018.

 

The first charge against them had alleged that on May 14, 2011, at Lot 126 Barrack Street, Kingston, Georgetown— sold a tract of land being 10.002 acres of Plantation Turkeyen, East Coast of Demerara – property of the state of Guyana for the sum of $185,037,000 without first having procured a valuation of the said property from a competent valuation officer.
It was further alleged that Dr. Ashni Singh and Brassington on December 30, 2008, at Lot 126 Barrack Street, Kingston, Georgetown, by way of Agreement of Sale and Purchase without due diligence, sold to Scady Business Corporation, a 4.7 acres tract portion of Plantation Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara, for $150M knowing that the said property was valued at $340M by Rodrigues Architects Associate, a competent valuation officer.

 

It was also alleged that the two on December 28, 2009, at Lot 126 Barrack Street, Kingston, Georgetown, by way of Agreement of Sale and Purchase, acted recklessly when they sold to National Hardware Guyana Limited, a tract of land at Plantation Liliendaal, Pattensen, and Turkeyen, situated on the East Coast of Demerara, 103 acres, being property of the State of Guyana for the sum of $598,659,39 without first having procured a valuation of the said property from a competent valuation officer.

 

It was further alleged that Dr. Singh and Brassington between October 26, 2010, and December 20, 2010, at Lot 126 Barrack Street, Kingston, Georgetown, by way of Agreement of Sale and Purchase, acted recklessly when they sold to Queens Atlantic Investment Inc., Sanata Textiles Complex, with building and erections thereon, that is to say, Parcel 4702, Part of Plantation Ruimveldt, situated on the East Bank Demerara, being 18.871 acres, for $697,864,800 plus VAT, knowing that the said property was valued at the sum of $1,042,403,500 and was therefore being sold at a price that was grossly undervalued, thereby creating a breach of their duties.”