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Forensic audit reports to aid in state assets recovery–SARU’s CEO

Chief Executive Officer of the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU), Aubrey Retmeyer (left) and Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams.

Guyana’s State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) will be partly using the findings of the several forensic audits to make out cases to the High Court to order the seizure of properties acquired based on stolen wealth, officials said Wednesday.

Chief Executive Officer of the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU), Aubrey Retmeyer declined to say who SARU/SARA has on its eyes on, but indicated that a number of them based on the several audit findings. “We have information that points to a number of individuals and some of them are clearly in those audit reports that were conducted shortly after the change in administration; some of those cases would certainly lend to asset recovery,” he said.

Audits have been conducted into the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), National Communications Network (NCN), Guyana Rice Development Board, National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU), the E-Government Project, Guyana Gold Board and Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, among others.

In a move seemingly aimed at responding to criticisms of the Bill by the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP)

Legal Adviser to the State Assets Recovery Unit/Agency, Brian Horn.

, Attorney General, Basil Williams said the draft law provides for no arrests, no charges, no prosecutions or jailed. “There is nothing criminal about this Bill. It is intended strictly to act against property… so the provisions go to State property obtained by the unlawful conduct of a public official or any other person,” he said.

Officials said the alleged owners of stolen property have a right to seek injunctions or appeal decisions.

On the issue of the constitutional right to private property, Head of SARU Professor Clive Thomas said, “you cannot have a constitutional right to stolen property.” Part of the aim, he said, was to craft a bill based on the 2003 United Nations Convention Against Crime which Guyana ratified in 2008.

He said ideally the agency would be ready to apply to the court for seize orders from Friday, one day after government is expected to use its one-seat majority to pass the State Assets Recovery Bill 2017. The opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) had called for the Bill to be sent to a House bipartisan select committee.

Head of the State Assets Recovery Unit, Professor Clive Thomas.

Legal Adviser to SARU, Brian Horn said SARU’s civil proceedings and the State’s criminal charges against someone like Dr. Jennifer Westford could continue concurrently but the asset recovery proceedings would be suspended until the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

Professor Thomas appear unperturbed by threats of legal action against the Bill when it is passed by the House and signed into law, saying that similar pieces of legislation in other countries have been challenged unsuccessfully.

  • rudeo

    take away assets and share out to poor blacks

  • Lancelot Brassington

    Those who are threatening legal action against the bill obviously have something to fear. Do nothing, fear nothing. Right
    By the way, Basil Williams’ matter with Justice Franklin Holder still remains to be sorted out. This matter has to be dealt with in full public view. Anything else is unacceptable. It seems that Granger and the judiciary need to grow backbones because they are hoping that the matter will soon be forgotten. Say what you like about Williams at least he can’t be accused of lacking a spinal cord.

  • JINNAH RAHMAN

    RAM – very well said – “DO NOTHING WRONG – FEAR NOTHING” !! Only the PPP top echelons are “crying foul-play”. Their BIG Business friends – like – Eddie Boyer – the richman friend of Bharrat Jagdeo – the “champion of the earth” !!

    It is alleged that Mr Boyer accompanied “Doctor” Jagdeo to India, where he received an enthusiastic welcome from his ancestry in a certain part of India. Jagdeo is reported to have cried openly and those in the large crowd weeped in return for received their “lost son” !

    It is alleged that Mr. Jagdeo received a large sum of money from the Indian government – plus his honorary degree from a “back-street” university – not DELHI UNIVERSITY.

  • OldDaag

    Agreed -this parallel unit is created to de-moralise the PPP party…If you take a close look at the crooks in the current administrations, Clive Tomas and company has NOT GONE after a single ONE of them….The fake passports order is on its way to RIG election come 2020….the INDO will experience another Cheddi/Burhnam era -Long years CHEDDI was cheated of a free and fair election…..Granger FIRE Carl Singh for AGE and Has Clive operational at 85….Does this not point to RACISM? – http://guyanatimesgy.com/jagdeo-will-win-next-elections/