Friday, August 29, 2014


James Michel owns land on La Digue bought from Mr Gregoire Payet in 2000. Parcel LD 1242 exchanged hands for the modest sum of sixty thousand rupees; nothing odd in that but where did Mr Payet get the land? 

In 1985, Mr Payet exchanged three parcels of land at Bel Ombre, Mahe for one parcel at Anse Severe, La Digue. The exchange was undertaken between Mr Payet and the government of Seychelles represented by President Rene. Parcels J6, J7 and J8 were exchanged for parcel LD 293. Parcels J6, J7 and J8 amounting to less than 5800 square meters in total were exchanged for parcel LD 293 totaling more than 42,500 square meters. LD 293 is situated at Anse Severe La Digue overlooking the jetty, prime land. This was an atrocious exchange of state land to benefit one individual at the expense of the people of Seychelles but that is not the end of the story.

 Mr Payet went on to subdivide parcel LD 923 into Parcels LD 944 and LD 945. Parcel LD 944 has further been subdivided into several smaller plots. President Michel bought parcel LD 1242 as a sub division of Parcel LD 944. Parcel LD 1242 was further sub divided into Parcels LD 1065 and LD 1349 and registered into Michel’s name in 2003. A house presently stands on Parcel LD 1349. Parcel LD 1351 adjacent to LD 1349 has been sold to one Mrs Chang Leng; a very familiar name indeed.

From the transactions, it is obvious that Mr Gregoire Payet intends to keep half of the original land exchanged for himself as Parcel LD 945 but what about the other half that has been subdivided? Will the parcels be ‘sold’ to a few selected individuals only?

The issue of state land being acquired by a select few individuals through unethical means has been the subject of national debate for many years but no one has ever been taken to task for these acquisitions. Neither has any explanations been given to justify these absurd transfers of state land. The reason is now becoming evident; even the top brass is involved in the transactions. Mr Gregoire Payet was once the kingpin of all government land on La Digue as the Managing Director of L’Union Estate. Since financial irregularities of L’Union Estate were made public, Gregoire has vanished from the limelight and nothing has been heard since.