Former Lands and Survey Commissioner granted bail on misconduct charge over sale of State lands

Former Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), Trevor Benn was moments ago hauled before a City Magistrate to answer a charge of misconduct in public office. Been, 53 appeared before Senior Magistrate Leron Daly in the Georgetown Magistrate’s Courts.

The charge in relation to the leasing of six acres of land at Ogle, East Coast Demerara (ECD) to Janico Vide Engineering Limited.

The charge stated that between January 1,2018 and March 31,2020, at Georgetown Lands and Survey Commission, Georgetown, while being a Public Officer, that is to say, the Commissioner of Guyana Lands and Survey Commission, Benn wilfully misconducted himself by causing the $27M to be paid by Janico Vide Industrial Engineering Limited for the lease of six (6) acres of land at Plantation Ogle, East Coast Demerara, knowing at the time that the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission did not have the authority to lease any land at Plantation Ogle, East Coast Demerara and thereby granted a Provisional Lease on March 27, 2020, to the said Janico Vide Industrial Engineering Limited without any description, the said wilful misconduct amounting to a breach of the public’s trust, without any excuse reasonable justification.

Benn was not required to plead to the indictable charge after it was read to him by the Magistrate. He was released on $200,000 bail and was instructed to make his next court appearance on March 31,2021.

According to reports, during the period mentioned, Benn who was Commissioner at the time allegedly leased six acres of State lands located at Ogle, East Coast Demerara.

The lands which valued $27M belonged to the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and not GL&SC.

Benn was appointed boss of GL&SC in 2016 by the David Granger administration, and was granted presidential powers related to the sanctioning of renting and granting of leases, licences, and permission of occupancy of all public lands.

When the President Irfaan Ali administration took office in August 2020, he was stripped of those powers and was later sent packing on February 4, 2021.