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James Bond, former NICIL Head a no-show at Court

Attorney-at-law James Bond and former Head of the National Industrial Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL), Colvin Heath-London who are accused of defrauding the State in several questionable land deals failed to attend court on Monday. Before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts, the men are facing several charges.

When the Chief Magistrate inquired about Bond’s absence, his attorney-at-law Patrice Henry said that his client was “running late” as a result of transportation problems. Heath-London’s lawyer Narissa Leander, on the other hand, explained that her client was stranded in Jamaica due to the island’s border restrictions to safeguard against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The matter comes up again on May 10, 2021, when the men, along with their two co-accused will be allowed to plead to the charges.

On April 1, Bond; London; Director of A-Z Pharmaceuticals Medical Supplies and Equipment Inc, Eddie Doolal; and the Principal of ARKEN Group Inc.Jermaine Richmond were all charged. The charges are in relation to the sale of State land at Peter’s Hall, East Bank of Demerara (EBD). Doolal and Richmond, and their lawyers were the only ones present at Monday’s proceedings.

The first charge stated that London and Bond between August 1, 2017, and November 30, 2020, at Georgetown, conspired together and with others to defraud NICIL, its sole shareholders, and the Government of property interest in land, namely the grant of a lease of land known as Plot A17, A18, A19 Plantation Peters Hall, East Bank Demerara, owned by the said NICIL without the necessary board and cabinet approval to do same and for the purposes other than that of NICIL.

It was further alleged that London, Bond, and Doolall between August 1, 2017, and November 30, 2020, at Georgetown, conspired together and with others to defraud NICILits sole shareholders, and the Government of property interest in land, namely the grant of a lease of land known as Plot A7, A8, A20 Plantation Peters Hall, East Bank Demerara, owned by the said NICIL without the necessary board and cabinet approval to do same and for the purposes other than that of NICIL.

It was also alleged that London, Bond, and Richmond between August 1, 2017, and November 30, 2020, at Georgetown, conspired together and with others to defraud NICILits sole shareholders and, the Government of property interest in land, namely the grant of a  lease of land known as plot A1, A2, A3, A4 Plantation Peters Hall, East Bank, Demerara, owned by the said NICIL without the necessary board and cabinet approval to do same and for the purposes other than that of NICIL.

Bond was released on bail in the sum of $150,000, while the others were released on $100,000 bail each. According to reports, Doolal and another leased 15 acres of prime land from NICIL. The land was then transferred at a price to a Chinese National, Jianfen Yu. It was reported that in one of the land deals, the principal of ARKEN Group Inc., Richmond, leased from NICIL 20.3 acres of land at Peter’s Hall on May 9, 2018, for 20 years at US$16,224 per year.

Reports indicate that Bond received a payment from Trinidad logistics company, Lennox Petroleum, for the sale of 10 acres of the land leased to ARKEN Group Inc. ARKEN  then turned around and sold the other 10 acres to local logistics company GLASS Holdings Inc. on October 10, 2019.

Shortly after the PPP/C took Government, Bond and the others were called in for questioning by the Police after a significant number of irregularities were discovered with the sale of the State lands. Bond was reportedly paid millions of dollars from these transactions.