Cummings denies any wrongdoing in Couva land purchase

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Cummings denies any wrongdoing in Couva land purchase

Foster Cummings has denied any wrongdoing pertaining to his purchase of land in Couva.

According to the Youth Development Minister, the entire transaction was carried out above board and handled before he became a minister.

Opposition MP Rudranath Indarsingh posed a series of questions to the Prime Minister regarding Cummings and a possible conflict of interest.

“I hereby ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware of any plan by Minister Foster Cummings to use his ministerial office to acquire properties belonging to ‘friendly societies” at under market value. “Friendly societies” fall directly under Minister Cumming’s purview.” Indarsingh also wanted to know if Cummings had his “personal attorney” Farai Hove Masaisai appointed under him as Registrar of Friendly Societies.

Cummings said he became the Minister of Youth Development on April 19, 2021, and any portfolios under his ministry, Like the Friendly Societies, are assigned by the Prime Minister.

Masaisai, he said was appointed registrar over a year before he took office and resigned to focus on his private practice shortly after.

Indarsingh asked if Masaisi signed off on the closure of the Couva Assurance Benefit Friendly Society only for Cummings to purchase the two storey property for $750 000.

Cummings responded by saying he was a member of the Couva Assurance Benefit Friendly Society in 2002 and entered into a lease arrangement involving a first option to purchase,

“In 2016, that property was offered to me in my capacity then as a businessman for purchase,” Cummings said. He also denied any money was owed on the building.

“That is an absolute lie!” he said. “The first payment was made in 2016 of $50,000. The second payment of $150,000 was made in 2017. And the third payment of $550,000 was made in 2019,” he said.

He said whatever was agreed upon between himself and the seller happened in 2016 before he became a minister and should remain private.

Cummings said there was no conflict of interest in the deal since it occurred before he became a minister, and he assured the relevant details are listed in his Integrity Commission declarations.