AG left family firm before property rental talks

At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Faris Al-Rawi ceased to be a di­rec­tor of Za­man En­ter­pris­es Ltd just three weeks be­fore it be­gan talks to lease of­fice space to the Gov­ern­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to com­pa­ny reg­is­tra­tion doc­u­ments re­ceived yes­ter­day, Al-Rawi ceased to be a di­rec­tor of Za­man En­ter­pris­es on No­vem­ber 8, 2018 and was re­placed by his rel­a­tive Abra­ham Al-Rawi.

Three weeks lat­er, Al-Rawi's wife, Mona Na­hous and the Gov­ern­ment re-opened dis­cus­sions about leas­ing the of­fice space for three years.

A let­ter signed by Mona Na­hous on No­vem­ber 30, 2018, ref­er­enced the "re-opened" ne­go­ti­a­tions to move the Min­istry of Labour to No 3 Alexan­dra Street, St Clair.

The let­ter­head on that doc­u­ment car­ried the name Za­man En­ter­pris­es Ltd.

There is no date giv­en as to when the ne­go­ti­a­tions first start­ed be­tween the Gov­ern­ment and the AG's wife.

"Whilst we are amenable to giv­ing you a re­duc­tion of rent, we are of the view that your of­fer of $543,044.32 is sig­nif­i­cant­ly be­low mar­ket rate," Na­hous said in that let­ter.

She coun­tered the Gov­ern­ment's of­fer with a price of $575,000 per month in­stead.

Doc­u­ments were sent to the me­dia yes­ter­day by the Op­po­si­tion Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress to sup­port cam­paign plat­form claims by Op­po­si­tion leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar at a Mon­day Night Fo­rum meet­ing in Tu­na­puna.

In that meet­ing, she raised the is­sue of mil­lions of dol­lars paid to lease of­fice space from com­pa­nies linked to Al-Rawi's fam­i­ly and ques­tioned whether there was not a con­flict of in­ter­est on the AG's part.

Al-Rawi yes­ter­day did not de­ny his fam­i­ly owns the prop­er­ty Per­sad-Bisses­sar high­light­ed but said he re­cused him­self from all mat­ters linked to any rental deal with the Gov­ern­ment, adding to that the com­pa­ny was in­volved in talks on the lease with both the Peo­ple's Part­ner­ship and the Peo­ple's Na­tion­al Move­ment gov­ern­ments.

Ac­cord­ing to an­oth­er let­ter re­ceived by the me­dia yes­ter­day, the of­fice the Chief Per­son­nel Of­fi­cer was al­so ne­go­ti­at­ing a move to the of­fice space at No. 3 Alexan­dra Street.

In the cache of doc­u­ments, a note for Cab­i­net dat­ed Feb­ru­ary 12, 2019, ref­er­enced the rental of an of­fice build­ing at No. 3 Alexan­dra Street, St Clair from Za­man En­ter­pris­es Ltd to ac­com­mo­date the Per­son­nel De­part­ment for a three-year pe­ri­od.

It lists the di­rec­tors of Za­man En­ter­pris­es as Mona Na­hous and Abra­ham Al-Rawi.

In an­oth­er Cab­i­net Note dat­ed Feb­ru­ary 14, 2019, Cab­i­net agreed to pay Na­hous $575,000 per month for three years.

Ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ments, back in De­cem­ber 2018, the CPO’s of­fice wrote to the Min­istry of Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion ref­er­enc­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with Min­is­ter Mar­lene Mc­Don­ald about the prop­er­ty at No. 3 Alexan­dra Place.

In an­oth­er let­ter, Nazem Na­hous ac­cept­ed the Gov­ern­ment's pro­pos­al of $600,000 (Vat Ex­clu­sive) for the rental of space at the same build­ing.

Reporter: Renuka Singh

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