You are here
Persad-Bissessar: Integrity Commission biased on Milshirv deal
On the eve of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has accused the Integrity Commission of being biased in the controversial Milshirv deal, stating there is a stony silence on the matter which leaves much to be desired. She called on the commission to clear the air on the Milshirv scandal as it reeked of corruption and backslapping, describing it as a “PNM family affair.”
“Whilst the commission was quick to announce and comment on the fact that complaints against the TOP was being investigated, there has been a stony silence on this $310 million transaction, which leaves a lot to be desired and some may say reeks of an appearance of perception of bias by the commission.”
Persad-Bissessar said the same enthusiasm the commission launched into the construction of Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) Ashworth Jack’s home, they should do for the Milshirv fiasco.
In a new twist, Persad-Bissessar dropped a bombshell, stating that the land embroiled in the Milshirv deal was owned by Denise Tsoi-a-Fatt-Angus, who is the Public Relations Officer of the PNM in Tobago and special adviser to the THA. The PM claimed she received a monthly salary of $60,000 from the THA. Persad-Bissessar raised three issues at the TOP’s final rally at
Market Square, Tobago, on Friday: The Milshirv deal; the more than US$30 million in damages and compensation from the THA being sought by a group of investors; and the Tobago bill. Milshirv was incorporated on October 3, 2011. On November 15, 2011, THA purchased three acres of land situated at the corner of Shirvan and Milford Roads for $12 million from Dankett Ltd.
Directors of Dankett Ltd are Anthony Rahael, Joseph Rahael, John Aboud and Michael Aboud. Seven days later, the THA leased the same three-acre property for 199 years at an annual rent of $10 to Milshirv Properties Ltd to build an administrative office for $143 million.
Persad-Bissessar claimed, “The three acres were owned by Denise, her mother Marjorie Tsoi-a-Fatt and her uncle Conrad Young.” The deal became “curiouser,” Persad-Bissessar said, as Dankett Ltd bought all three acres from the three individuals on September 7, 1999.
PM: middle man used to disguise transaction
“We don’t know what the total figure was, as we have only been able to locate one of the deeds. But it would be interesting to know how much money Dankett paid for the lands.” Persad-Bissessar said the land was not sold directly to Dankett, but through a company called Aquila Ltd of 11-16 Victoria Avenue, Port-of-Spain, which acted as a middle man to disguise the transaction.
“Why was the sale to Rahael-owned Dankett Ltd being passed through a middle man? Was this being used to shield the sale from Dankett from your eyes?” Persad-Bissessar said London and his team should not be trusted. “They are totally shameless. They come with deceptions and half-truths.”
The plot thickened further, Persad-Bissessar said, as the registered address for Dankett Ltd in the same deed was described as 11 to 13 Victoria Avenue, Port-of-Spain. “It means that Dankett Ltd was housed at the same address building as part of Aquila Ltd.”
A PNM family affair
“What we did not know then that this was just one PNM family from Trinidad alone which profited, but rather two PNM families are involved in this sweetheart deal. For Dankett Ltd to know this, they would have had to know that the THA will be willing to favourably consider locating and building an office complex at Shirvan. Did she (Tsoi-a-Fatt-Angus) have inside knowledge about the THA desire or plan to build an office complex at Shirvan Road?”
Persad-Bissessar said, “Some $310 million would have been shared amongst PNM family and friends.” The PM questioned why “Denise and her family could not sell the land directly to the THA? The Milshirv matter was clearly a PNM family affair. It reeks of corruption and PNM backslapping PNM.”
Keeping Tobagonians captive and dependent
Touching on the estate, Persad-Bissessar said the investors who entered into a sale agreement to buy the estate to build a five-star hotel had applied in 2007 for a license, which they never got. Persad-Bissessar said this deal would have created foreign investment, jobs, and eco-tourism but London and his team “had scuttle that,” thereby putting Tobago and the tourism sector in shambles.
“They (PNM) don’t want to see Tobagonians earning revenue on their own. They want to keep you captive and dependent on the ten days of Cepep and URP.” She appealed to Tobagonians to remember the PNM’s mismanagement when they go to the polls tomorrow. The PM said she lives with the hope that the PNM will have a change of heart on the bill. Several attempts to reach Integrity Commission Chairman Ken Gordon yesterday proved futile.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.