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Guyana sets up unit to go after stolen cash, property

Minister of State in the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon.

The Guyana government said it would be going after stolen assets that are stashed away locally and overseas, as it continues to accuse the previous administration of rampant corruption.

“Where ever these are, whether here or overseas, and that to this end, there is likely to be established a State Assets Recovery Unit, tasked with this responsibility. This unit will in all likelihood be multi-agency and will be aided by overseas entities so that the recovery process will be efficient,” said Minister of State in the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon.

He was quoted by the Government Information Agency (GINA) as saying that the State Assets Recovery Unit would be independent but with broad powers. “This unit will then make recommendations based on findings, after which all will be presented to the ruling administration for examination and action if necessary,” he said.

In terms of actual value, the Minister explained that Distinguished Economics Professor Clive Thomas estimated the amount “siphoned off” to be almost GUY$300 billion per year, a figure that at least one international agency has topped, giving it as GUY$500 billion.

The Minister also reiterated that Cabinet has approved audits for over 30 state entities, and that the new Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan is ensuring that monies assigned to the Consolidated Funds are indeed going there.

Since taking office after victory at the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections, the new government has been making a lot of heavy weather about corruption by the previous People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration but no one has been prosecuted so far.

The new A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition administration has been receiving reports of certain government employees acquiring inexplicable wealth compared to their actual salaries.