Former National Housing Corporation (NHC) Chairman, Timothy Mangal, has challenged Housing Minister, Richard Frederick, to repeat corruption allegations made in the House of Assembly this week, outside of the privileges of parliament.
Among the issues Frederick raised in the house was that there was an attempt to register a deed that would transfer sixteen NHC land lots in the Trouya area in the name of a company owned by Timothy Mangal and his wife.
“They put a value on that land of one million dollars Mr. Speaker, but I could tell you they have not paid NHC one penny for that land,” Frederick asserted.
Parliament was told that the NHC board and Mangal agreed that the lots would be placed in his name, he would develop and build on the lots and after the buildings were sold he would pay.
But Frederick said said the transaction has been temporarily halted.
However Mangal explained to reporters on Thursday that the project was discussed in its entirety on the ‘Inside Castries South East’ programmes on March 29 and again on June 21, which included an animation being shown.
“There’s nothing wrong with this development,” he declared.
He explained that the NHC and his company, Marigot Buildings Depot Limited, decided to develop a property in Trouya consistent with the Saint Lucia Labour Party’s 2021 manifesto encouraging private developers to develop this country.
“We know there’s a shortage of housing stock, we know the NHC is broke, it doesn’t have the money to develop so they’re putting forward the land at $15 a square foot which is the value of the land as determined by Cabinet Conclusion 275 of 2016 under a labour party administration,” the former NHC Chairman said.
He said the value amounted to some one million dollars.
“Marigot Buildings Depot is going to be putting over seven million dollars in this investment. We have to design the project which we have already done – we got DCA approval for it already. We are marketing the project,” Mangal disclosed.
He asked reporters if they were involved in investing seven millions dollars and another partner was putting up one million dollars, whether the seven million dollar investor would not have the majority share.
“What Mr. Frederick did not tell you, is that the land to be transferred in Marigot Buildings Depot name does not stay with Marigot Building Depot, it is for the purpose of a development,” Mangal stated.
He said the transfer had to take place for three reasons, including seeking financing and applying for concessions which cannot be done if the company does not own the property.
“At the end of the day, NHC will be paid its $15 a square foot. There’s a time limit to the development of three years – at the end of three years we must develop the properties, market them and sell them. Even if we do not complete the development of the property, we still have to pay NHC for the value of the land,” Mangal said.
“And if you say we are transferring the property for speculation, at the end of the three year period, if we do not develop the property, we have to transfer it back to NHC at no cost to NHC – and all of that is in the agreement that Mr. Frederick is making reference to,” he declared.
“It has been done before,” he said.
Mangal observed that Frederick has told the house that the project has been put on hold, but he said he is yet to receive a formal letter from the NHC.
Headline photo (Richard Frederick (l) and Timothy Mangal)