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Govt slaps Car Care owner with $500M lawsuit

Wilfred Brandford, the owner of Car Care Enterprise now has to defend a $500 million lawsuit filed against him by the Government of Guyana over his purchase of parcels of lands way below the market value.

In a statement of claim filed by Attorney General Anil Nandlall, the Government is contending that the lands which are worth $150 million were sold to Brandford for a mere $13.5 million.

While he sat as a board member of the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission (GL&SC) under the previous A Partnership for Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government, Brandford, according to Nandlall, purchased parcels 4725 and 4805 Block XXX Plantation Ruimveldt comprising 0.710 and 0.887 acres respectively for a total sum of $13, 500, 000.  But in court documents, Nandlall submits that the Government sold similar-sized parcels of land in the same vicinity for as much as $150 million.

Against this backdrop, Nandlall argues that the Agreement of Sale and Purchase which was executed by former GL&SC Commissioner Trevor Benn is illegal, unlawful, null, void, repugnant, contrary to public policy, and amounts to fraud. In light of this, the Government is claiming damages in excess of $500 million from Benn and Chief Valuation Officer Julian Barrington.

The Government is also seeking to repossess the lands, and as such, is asking the court for an order in this regard.

Nandlall argues that Benn had no powers to sell the lands, as such power is vested in the President pursuant to Section 3 (1) of the State Lands Act.

Moreover, the Attorney General submits that he sold the lands without any input from persons or departments within the GL&SC, nor did he seek approval from the Head of State.

According to him, Brandford replied upon his relationship with Benn and his position of influence he held on the Board of the GL&SC to secure a favourable transaction.

In the circumstances, the Government submits that the actions of Benn, Brandford, and Barrington denied the people of Guyana millions of dollars and that there is no reasonable explanation that can justify the sale.

This lawsuit is expected to be called soon at the High Court in Demerara.