Last Updated on Friday, 21 August 2015, 18:17 by GxMediaMinister of State Joseph Harmon caused uproar during his budget speech Friday August 21, when he revealed that the former administration took over former State building, Red House and transferred it to People’s Progressive Party (PPP) company, Cheddi Jagan Research Inc. after changing the property’s name to the Cheddi Jagan Centre.
Harmon in startling revelations said that up to 2012, the State building was the property of the state until it was transferred to the company through a lease for 99 years at a cost of GUY$1,000 monthly.
Apart from this, Harmon said that the entity’s staff remained on the job and were still being paid by the State. Looking at the Cheddi Jagan Research Inc.’s Board of Directors, Harmon said it is clear the direction of the transaction since the Board involved top executives of the PPP including Geoffery Da Silva, Janet Jagan, Donald Ramotar, James Rose, Micheal Khan, Hydar Ally, Ralph Ramkarran, among others.
This information he said was not made accessible through forensic audit or a Commission of Inquiry, but a mere visit to the Deeds registry and the Lands and Survey commission. He said not only did the PPP take over the State property, but they also spent millions of dollars to renovate Red House before it was transferred.
As the Minister of State disclosed the names of the directors of Cheddi Jagan Research Inc; who were largely top executive members of the PPP, he was heckled by members of the opposition benches. Irfan Ali said “the PM (Prime Minister) did the document,” to which Harmon retorted “that doesn’t make it right.” Minister of Social Cohesion quickly reacted by saying “barefaced thief.”
On the issue of the workers at the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre still being paid by the state, opposition member Clement Rohee yelled to the government, “Knock them off.” But this seemed to have upset the Minister who responded, “Knock them off? That is the level of contempt for the people I am talking about.”
Harmon said he could go on and on with more revelations but he will leave that to the State Asset Recovery Unit to make further disclosure. He said citizens can look forward to more on these issues, saying that the Asset Recovery Unit is following the money trail all the way to “Abu Dhabi, New York and all over the world.”