The joint battle against corruption fought by Flory Larue and Alexander Pierre has made it possible to unravel one of the murkiest stories of land speculation and cronyism in Seychelles.
Just before midnight, on Thursday, State House released a press statement to announce that ten plots of land have been transferred back to the Republic of Seychelles. This follows a relentless combat fought by Flory Larue and Alexander Pierre against shadowy deals conducted in the past, in particular with regard to land speculation.
|10 Plots at Beau Vallon|
On Tuesday 21 March, MNA Larue asked Minister Charles Bastienne a question about the sale of several plots of land in Beau Vallon. They were purchased from government by one company, Sarah Ltd.
Two days later, Flory Larue handed the land transaction documents to President Faure. He moved quickly and decisively: "The proprietor of the company Sarah Ltd was met and a mutual agreement was reached. All ten plots of land were transferred back to the Republic of Seychelles yesterday, the 29th of March.," reveals the official statement from State House.
It turns out that there were not ten plots of land, but eleven. The first ten are located in Beau Vallon bordering on Glacis. The eleventh one is a flat beachfront land close to Berjaya Beau Vallon. This plot measuring 7631 square meters was bought for SCR 2,300,000. This is prime property near the beachfront of Beau Vallon. All eleven plots were sold by government to one single company. The deal was arranged in record time.
Who is behind Sarah Ltd? The proprietor of the company is the Saudi businessman Suliman Aldakhail who is connected to the Kempinski hotel. He was known to be very close to the most influential people in the island until recently.
All procedures for the sale were completed within one month in December 2008. The sale was registered within two weeks, whilst the registrar takes on average three months to process documents.
In a communiqué issued yesterday, LDS commented on that case: "the sale of several plots of state-
owned land to one individual is a case for an investigation of corruption, since it cannot be justified as an acceptable practice in the interest of Seychellois citizens. The plots, located in Glacis had been earmarked for the land bank scheme."
Though the return of the ten plots can be considered to be a significant event in the fight against malpractices, activist Flory Larue is not fully satisfied. Speaking to TODAY, she explained that "the act of returning the plots is fine but people who acted in violation of laws or government policies are still working as public servants. Individuals who cannot abide by official policies should resign from public service."
|The untendered 11th plot in a prime area; given away at bargain prices|
While recognising that the return of the ten plots is a "commendable gesture" on the part of both the President and the proprietor of Sarah ltd., she regrets that the statement from the State House does not mention the next step in this affair. "Will the PS who signed the documents resign?" she asks
Flory Larue and Alexander Pierre feel they may have won a battle but as long as the war is not won, they will maintain their efforts. "Of the many files we have been working on, we have exposed only one. There is still a long way to go. And then, there is an eleventh plot at Beau Vallon which has not yet been returned".
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