|Hanchell, Holiday Resorts named in Crown land suits||| Print ||
|Written by Richard Greenemail@example.com|
|Thursday, 26 January 2012 11:44|
Former government Minister McAllister Hanchell and his brother Elliott Hall are accused of getting 3.6 acres of Crown land on Providenciales for $78,493 in 2006 and using it to borrow $3,911,000.
The Civil Recovery Team through the Attorney General has filed a civil action against both men operating as Akita Holdings Ltd. to get back the land, plus damages, costs and interest. The action also seeks to recover 6.3 acres of Crown land on South Caicos that Akita got under lease but on which it failed to make lease payments.
Akita Holdings denies any wrongdoing in the Providenciales transaction and vowed to fight the claim. However, Akita admitted not making lease payments on the South Caicos land and said the land belongs to the government.
In a separate court action, 15 owners of a company that got 50 acres of Crown land on Proggin Bay and Silly Creek that falls within both the Pidgeon Pond and Frenchman’s Creek Nature Reserve and the Chalk Sound National Park stand to lose their property because their company allegedly did not fulfill the conditions to get title to the land.
Those holding shares in Holiday Resort Development Ltd. were Samuel Lightbourne Sr., Percy Williams, Enos Gardiner, Christoval Williams, Wendal Swann, Albert Grant, Chris Stubbs, Sydrin Pratt, Tom Lightbourne, Oswald Williams, Conrad Howell, Edith Cooper, Ivy Cunningham, James O. Rigby and Claridge Wilson, according to court documents.
Both actions filed in November in the Supreme Court were disclosed Jan. 24 by Laurence Harris, head of the London legal team hired by the interim government to go after property and money illegally obtained or owed to government. The team already has recovered $2.4 million in cash or pending settlements and more than 900 acres of land.
Akita Holdings Ltd.
In the case against Hanchell and Hall, their company Akita got 3.6 acres on Providenciales in late 2006 under conditional purchase leases and subsequently bought the properties for $78,493.
“Mr. Hanchell knew that the land was being sold at an undervalue, alternatively he facilitated the transfer of the land knowing that no valuation had been carried out and there was a significant risk that the land was being transferred at an undervalue,” the civil claim alleges.
Less than a year later, Akita pledged the land to borrow $3.4 million from FirstCaribbean International Bank. That loan was later increased to $3,911,000.
In a separate transaction, Akita got 6.3 acres on South Caicos in 2006. Hanchell was minister of Natural Resources when he recommended to Cabinet a lease be granted, but he did not disclose as required that he had a 60-percent interest in the property.
The company only made one of three lease payments on the property, and the government is seeking to cancel the lease and recover the property.
Holiday Resort Development
Holiday Resort first sought to develop 300 acres in and around West Harbour Bluff on the southwestern tip of Providenciales in 1996. That property is in the Pidgeon Pond and Frenchman’s Creek Nature Reserve, but government was inaccurately informed at first that the property was not in a protected area, according to court documents.
The proposal was halted after complaints from the Turks and Caicos National Trust, which pointed out the error.
After a series of discussions, government agreed in 2002 to sell 50 acres in the protected areas to Holiday Resort if it agreed to build a paved road from Millennium Highway to the area. If the road cost the company more than $1.5 million — the value that was placed on the 50 acres — Holiday Resort would get the property for free.
Holiday Resort also had to get approval from the Ministry of Natural Resources that the property was not in a protected area, get a land use plan and conduct an environmental impact assessment. It had three years to meet the requirements or the deal was off.
In June 2007, Hanchell — as minister of Natural Resources — wrote to Holiday Resort saying it had met the road requirement and could draw down on the land. At that time, the path of the road had only been roughly cleared, as it remains today, at a cost of about $140,000.
However, in January 2008, Holiday Resort was registered owner of the land.
The Civil Recovery Team attempted to contact directors of Holiday Resort in 2011 about the transaction but received no “substantive response,” according to court documents.
In its civil action against Holiday Resort, government claims that the land transfer was a mistake and that Holiday Resort didn’t honor the conditions of the agreement. Because conditions weren’t met before the transfer, the agreement had automatically terminated and the transfer should be reversed.
Holiday Resort wasn’t the only one to get property in the national parks and reserves. The government’s Crown land register shows that another 26 people or companies got a total of 120 acres along Proggin Bay and on Wiley Point just south of Malcolm beach. Those leases and grants occurred between 2007 and 2009.
Nothing has been built on those parcels.
Another 30 parcels of Crown land were granted between 2006 and 2009 on the northeastern banks of Chalk Sound in the national park. Some owners began construction, but the former elected government ordered construction halted and that owners be compensated.
The interim government is still negotiating with those owners over the fate of their properties.
Entertainment: Your Island Guide
Top things to do in April
Top things to do in April 1. From Golfing to More...
Valentine’s Day Cup 2013 model sailboat races
The Middle Caicos Sailboat Association will once again present the annual model sailboat races at More...
Lime and Tourist Board announce weekly Fish Fry
The Turks & Caicos Tourist Board & LIME partner with Cultural Fish Fry The Turks & Caicos Tourist More...
Turks & Caicos Reef Fun to host dazzling evening
The Turks and Caicos Reef Fund will host its 2nd Annual Cocktail Party Reception on Jan. 26 at the More...
Fashion Glam at Regent Palms
The Regent Palms is inviting everyone to an evening of fashion and glamour at their event being More...
Latest Community News
Cholera Clinical Management Training Held in the TCI
Healthcare professionals from the TCI Health Services were trained in the Clinical Management of More...
Illegal Haitian immigrants Intercepted
Illegal Haitian Immigrants Intercepted, to the Repatriated According to the Ministry of Border More...
Ministry of Health Reminding public about sanitation
Health surveillance teams attached to the Ministry of Health and Human Services (MOHHS) have More...
Scholarship applications now being accepted
The Ministry of Education has announced that they are now accepting applications for scholarships More...
History and traditions stay alive at the 13th annual boat races in Middle Caicos
The 2013 Valentines Day Cup welcomed many fun loving residents and tourists to Middle Caicos’ More...