Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Junior minister reported to General Legal Council

Published:Tuesday | December 29, 2015 | 12:00 AM

State minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Arnaldo Brown has been reported to the disciplinary committee of the General Legal Council (GLC) over his alleged role in a land deal.

Fellow attorney Herbert Grant has also been reported for his handling of the deal.

In an affidavit filed with the GLC, pastor Boswell Raymond claims that on March 12, 2012, his church, Harvest Tabernacle, entered into a sale agreement with a vendor, Collin Jackson, through his attorney Arnaldo Brown, to purchase Lot 259 Dawkins Bog, Ferry Pen, St Catherine, for $36 million.

Raymond, in the sworn statement, said the deal was for 20 per cent ($7.2 million) deposit to be paid in instalments and the balance payable via a vendor's mortgage at $458,000 monthly.

Transfer tax, stamp duty and registration fee were said to have totalled $2.7 million. The affidavit claims that $3.47 million in total was paid directly to Brown.

According to Raymond, the amount paid over to Brown was more than adequate to have the sale agreement stamped, but this critical part of the transaction was not done.

He charged that cheques paid to Brown appeared to have been passed to the vendor to use at his discretion when the attorney was well aware that Jackson had acquired a mortgage on the property and the money should have been paid to the bank which held the mortgage.

Raymond further alleged in the affidavit that on several occasions the sale agreement was requested from Brown through the church's attorney, along with the status of the mortgage accounts and this was never done.

"It was after we threatened to seek the GLC's intervention that he (Brown) submitted only the signed sale agreement," the affidavit further read.

Brown has refused to comment on the allegations, telling our news team that his legal team will be dealing with the matter.

But Raymond, in the affidavit also alleged that with the agreement for sale not stamped, the agreement for the church to purchase the property was unenforceable.

In his affidavit, Raymond accused Grant of allowing his client to purchase the property from the bank despite knowing that the church had an equitable interest in it.

Raymond further charges that the bank asked Grant and his client to cancel the purchase since the church had already started moves to acquire and that was also rejected.

Grant also refused to comment on the matter last week, saying it is now up to the GLC to make a judgement on whether the church has a genuine equitable interest.