Former Health Minister under the APNU+AFC Government Dr. George Norton was today hauled before a City Magistrate to answer to a charge in relation to the rental of a Sussex Street drug bond. Norton appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts this morning.
The charge against Norton stated that while performing duties at the Ministry of Public Health within the Government of Guyana between June 1, 2016, and January 1, 2017, he willfully misconducted himself when he instructed Trevor Thomas, Permanent Secretary of the said ministry to sign a contract dated July 20, 2016, between Ministry of Public Health and Linden Holdings Inc. for the rental of a property situated at Lot 29 Sussex Street, Albouystown, Georgetown.
The charge further stated that the bond was rented at $12.5 million per month for three years was used by the Health Ministry for the storage of pharmaceutical with effect from July 1, 2016, and resulted in the payment of $337.5 million to Linden Holdings Inc. without first obtaining approval from the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board.
Norton was not required to plead to the indictable charge after it was read to him. He was released on $400,000 bail and instructed to make his next court appearance on April 27, 2021.
According to reports, the controversial drug bond was highly scrutinized for raking up a bill of $337.5M under the then APNU+AFC regime. The storage bond was to serve as an offsite medical storage facility for the Health Ministry and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
However, in 2016, the bond was merely storing items such as lubricants and condoms. Then in 2018, the former government stopped using the bond.