Local partner takes Sun and Sand to court for US$38M
By Kiana Wilburg
The private investor who brought the India based firm Sun and Sand Inc. to Guyana’s
The Manager for the Sun and Sand Hotel, Bhushan Chandna (left) presenting the plan for the hotel to President Donald Ramotar and Minister of Tourism, Irfaan Ali.
shores, with hopes of successfully having their joint venture into the mining sector realized, is now suing the company for US$38M (equivalent to $7.7B,) for not honouring its end of the bargain.
Sun and Sand Inc., owned by Rajesh Satija and managed by Company Secretary Bhushan Kumar, was brought to Guyana in 2012 by Garfield Harte, a local investor who travels often. His Power of Attorney is Beverley Barker of Lot 8 Middle Walk, Victoria, East Coast Demerara.
Harte owns three mining blocks in Cuyuni Mining District each valuing in excess of $168M. Based on a survey conducted, the mineral concentration of the blocks is expected to be over and above 26.6 tons of placer gold and 265,423 tons of quarts gold. The total income was estimated at US$17, 811, 279M.
With this in mind, Harte and the members of the India-based company, had several discussions, and decided that if they pooled their resources, a joint project in Guyana’s mineral sector would prove to be lucrative.
When they arrived in Guyana, the joint venture company, Sun and Sand Mining Resources Inc was incorporated by Harte’s lawyer, Joseph Harmon. The company has an office at Lot 288 Atlantic Gardens, East Coast Demerara.
The Agreement which they entered into in August 2012 said that Harte’s interior properties would be explored, minerals extracted and sold, and 18 percent of the profits would be given to him.
According to Clause Four of the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) signed by the two partners, under the caption Commencement, a number of things were to be executed and completed by Sun and Sand Mining Inc. It was required to get a Purchase Contract for processing plants for all three blocks, in Bangkok by the end of August 2012, build camps and commence exploration in the first block of land by September –November 2012, complete exploration in all the three blocks by April, 2013 and commence production by April 2013.
Harte fulfilled all his obligations under the said agreement. He was required to get all equipment for the commencement of operation and did so. In fact, all the equipment has been in Guyana for in excess of one year. There has been no exploration or production by the Sun and Sand Mining Company in this venture.
Clause Seven of the JVA stipulated the percentage of the profits which should be had by Harte.
In breach of Clause Four and Seven of the JVA, Harte claims that the defendant, has failed, refused and or neglected to make payments in the sum of 18 percent which is equivalent to $7.7B had the JVA been carried through.
The investor said he attempted in several instances to make contact with the Company but was unable to reach them.
He was later surprised to learn that the Company teamed up with the government and local construction giant, BK International, to construct a US$54M five star hotel and casino on July 9. The hotel is still to be constructed even after the stakeholders involved announced that construction would begin within a week’s time after a grand launch in July.
Harte was also baffled when he discovered that his JVA partner obtained two prospecting licences from Manager of BK International, Brian Tiwarie.
With strong suspicion that the JVA may be doomed for failure before it even gets started, Harte decided to take legal recourse to recoup the billions in losses incurred.
Court documents revealed that Harte’s Power of Attorney brought the legal action against the Sun and San Company Secretary. The matter is expected to be heard before Commercial Court Judge, Rishi Persaud.
The Power of Attorney, Barker, also filed for an interim injunction against the company stakeholders and owners.
After noting the newspaper articles which showed that the Sun and Sand Company developed other “business interests,” she believes that they are likely to sell, mortgage or otherwise part with three super miners with CD with hydrocuclone, one bulldozer, one excavator, and one bush truck all acquired by Harte to satisfy other obligations connected with their new business venture.
She fears that they may flee the country with Harte’s assets and not pay a cent.
Barker is hoping that the court grants the injunction to block Kumar and Satija from leaving until “they pay up in court.”
Kaieteur News has tried to contact Sun and Sand owners to respond to allegations being made by Harte and Barker but efforts proved futile.
Sources at the Lands and Survey Department revealed that the company is still to complete payments for the Liliendaal land where the Sun and Sand hotel is expected to be constructed.
The Company’s assistant had told this newspaper that while Bhushan Chandna, the official in charge of the Hotel operations, was overseas; the company is pretty much interested in “other things” being mining. He had said that he would not be able to give comments on the hotel industry as the persons currently here are responsible for the mining arrangements and not the hotel.
The assistant had said that Chandna would be in Guyana until December 1.
On Friday evening, Chandna, his assistant, and Tiwarie were at Oasis Café engrossed in discussions.