Winston Jordan on $3M bail over selling State wharf way below market value

Former APNU+AFC Government Minister, Winston Jordan was charged on Tuesday over selling the country’s largest wharf facility valued at GY$5 billion to BK Marine Limited for a mere GY$20 million. Jordan, who served as Finance Minister under the previous Coalition Government was brought before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.

He was not required to plead to the indictable charge. The former Government Minister was released on $3 million bail. He will make his next court appearance on February 10, 2022. He was represented by Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde and Attorneys-at-Law Joseph Harmon, Khemraj Ramjattan, and Darren Wade.

It is alleged that Winston Jordan, being and performing duties of Minister of Finance and being the concerned Minister for the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), a company owned by the Government of Guyana, between Wednesday, February 26, 2020, and Friday, July 31, 2020, at Main Street, Georgetown, willfully misconducted himself by acting recklessly when he signed NICIL (Transfer of Property) Order No. 50 of 2020, which was published in the Official Gazette, transferring to and vesting to BK Marine Inc. absolutely, all buildings, erections, stellings, platforms, and further appurtenances, that is to say, Mudlots 1 & 2, F of Mudlot 3, A, B & D, situated at North Cummingsburg, Georgetown, being over 2.553 acres, by paying GY$20,260,276 for the property valued over GY$5 billion and being sold at a price that was grossly undervalued to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust and without reasonable excuse or justification.

 Jordan was questioned earlier this month by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU)- an arm of the Guyana Police Force in relation to a series of alleged fraudulent transactions in which he is implicated, involving public funds and state properties, estimated to value billions of Guyana dollars.

The first transaction relates to the sale and vesting of the state’s largest wharf facilities located at Kingston, Georgetown, valued approximately GY$8 billion (US$40,000,000) which was sold for a mere GY$110 million (US$500,000).

 The purchaser BK Marines Limited, which is owned by prominent businessman Brian Tiwarie,  paid only 10 per cent of this purchase price, that is GY$20 million (US$100,000) and Minister Jordan issued a vesting order passing Title to the purchaser, without the payment of any further sum of monies.

The vesting order stated that the property is being sold free from encumbrance and liabilities and no further sum of money is owed by the purchaser. Transport was subsequently issued for this property and the value strangely stated on the Transport was GY$400 million (US$2,000,000).

The agreement of sale stated that Title must only pass upon full payment of purchase price. SOCU said investigators have evidence to establish that a facility that is a mere fraction of the size of the state property under investigation, located some seven miles upriver was sold by a private company for US$17 million.

According to SOCU, this is only one of several investigations that implicate former Minister Jordan. As it is, Jordan has publicly refuted claims by Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC that he has been engaged in nefarious transactions and has said that he will not be intimidated by the politically motivated charge.