Former Lands Minister Evades Inquiry, Refuses to Answer Dozens of Questions

Former Lands Minister Evades Inquiry, Refuses to Answer Dozens of Questions

There were more than 12 questions that the former Lands Minister declined to answer, on the basis that the questions purportedly had no relevance to the terms of reference of the Senate Inquiry.  For some 25 minutes, Patt was asked about several companies that received huge parcels of land under his leadership at the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Senator Kevin Herrera:Mr.Patt will you recall a company Key Star Limited ?” 

Hugo Patt, Former Minister of Natural Resources: “Senator with much respect I don’t see the relevance of that question, neither to the motion nor to the terms of reference and so I will exercise my right as a witness to decline to answer.”

Senator Kevin Herrera: “Would you recall a company Fire Sky Limited ?”

Hugo Patt, Former Minister of Natural Resources: “With much respect Senator I will exercise – I do not see the relevance of your question to the terms of reference or the motion and so I will exercise my right to decline to answer.”

Senator Kevin Herrera: “Same question Vision Project Limited ?”

Hugo Patt, Former Minister of Natural Resources: “I will reserve my right as a witness to decline to answer.”

Senator Kevin Herrera: “Alkaline Limited?”

Hugo Patt, Former Minister of Natural Resources: “I will reserve my right as a witness not to respond to that question.”

Senator Kevin Herrera: “Building Blocks Limited.”

Hugo Patt, Former Minister of Natural Resources: “Same answer.”

Senator Kevin Herrera: “Kill Switch Limited.”

Hugo Patt, Former Minister of Natural Resources: “Same answer Senator.”

Senator Kevin Herrera: “The common director in all those companies is an individual Sanjay Hutchandani, would you be familiar with him sir ?”

Hugo Patt, Former Minister of Natural Resources: “I don’t find that question relevant to the motion or to the terms of reference and so I will exercise my right as a witness to decline to answer with much respect Senator.”

Senator Kevin Herrera: “These companies sir have one thing in common. They have one common director and these companies on the same day on November 4th 2020 got nine fifty acre parcels. Would you recall anything about those transactions ? On the same day?”

Hugo Patt, Former Minister of Natural Resources: “I don’t find that question relevant to the terms of reference or the motion and so I will decline to answer.”

Senator Kevin Herrera: “Would would have approved those transactions sir?”

Hugo Patt, Former Minister of Natural Resources: “I have stated my answer Senator. Thank you respectfully.”

Senator Kevin Herrera: “Earlier you had said that you approved all transactions and that’s not delegated. So I’d have to take it that you had approved all those -”

SC Dean Barrow, Attorney: “With respect that’s not the question.”

Senator Kevin Herrera: “Another thing that these properties all had in common Mr.Patt is that they were all in a specific area along with eight other parcels measuring the same size. Would it appear maybe unusual that seventeen parcels would come in the same day all for the same acreage ? That would be a general question.”

Hugo Patt, Former Minister of Natural Resources: “I don’t find the relevance of that question neither to the motion at hand nor to the terms of reference but Senator at the time that you and your family applied for land in one particular area did anybody or the minister at the time notice that you had made several applications for several parcels of land probably within family members?”

Senator Kevin Herrera: “I think you’re throwing out a red herring but I certainly have not applied for any lands from the government so I don’t know where you’re getting that from. But if you want to throw it out again let’s go I mean I don’t have any issue with that.”
Hugo Patt, Former Minister of Natural Resources: “Senator with much respect I find the question not relevant to the motion or to the terms of reference and so I will exercise my right to decline to answer, thank you.”

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