September 28, 2020

Privy Council upholds Turks and Caicos Islands government asset recovery claim


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From Caribbean News Now

, England — On Monday, the in London dismissed an appeal by Akita Holdings Ltd against the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) government, affirming the decisions of the and Court of Appeal as part of the government’s claim against Akita Holdings under the civil recovery programme.

Akita Holdings holds the majority of the land where fuel storage and related facilities are located in , Providenciales.

In September 2014, the chief justice, Margaret Ramsey-Hale ruled that Akita Holdings had obtained the land in breach of fiduciary duties owed to the government by its owner and former minister of natural resources, McAllister Hanchell.

Hanchell is one of five former TCI government ministers currently on trial on various corruption-related charges.

The government was found by the court to own almost 70% of the land and to be entitled to the profits earned through the use of the land. The court ordered that a further hearing should take place to assess the value of the damages due to the government to account for the ownership interest and profits owed to the government.

In Monday’s ruling, as well as dismissing the appeal, the Privy Council ordered Akita Holdings to pay the government’s costs of the appeal and returned the case to the Supreme Court, in order for an assessment of damages, which the chief justice originally ordered should now proceed.

Attorney general, Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles, stated; “After Akita Holdings’ unsuccessful appeals have delayed matters by two and a half years, the government is now looking forward to valuing and recovering the damages due to it on behalf of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

The appointment of a civil recovery team was a key recommendation of the report of the 2008 Commission of Inquiry.

IMAGE:Fuel storage and industrial yards at South Dock, Providenciales

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