Last Updated on Monday, 13 February 2017, 15:00 by Denis Chabrol
The opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPPC) will be filing private criminal charges against top government officials including ministers for allegedly enriching themselves from the State’s coffers, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo announced on Monday.
Jadgeo gave few details to back his claims, but assured that legal experts were preparing papers to file charges against them. “We don’t do our business like how they (government) have been talking. We are not talking about going to jail and all of that. We are preparing the documents and this is why we have grave concerns about what would happen at the Integrity Commission,” he said.
He hinted that government has sent home all the staff of the Integrity Commission, leaving all the returns behind. “We know that many of them broke the law and did not file returns so we are worried that they could just stick these things in and they would tamper with the records,” said Jagdeo.
The former President said the PPP hopes to file private criminal charges against the estimated 50 percent salary increase that government gave its ministers. “The basis for which they are looking at the Pradoville issue is that people illegally transferred assets to themselves to enrich themselves… Then we can prove a case in court that they have taken financial assets of the State based on a Cabinet decision that they themselves made to give themselves an increase bigger than anyone else: that is enrichment also,” he said.
He said the private charges would also provide an opportunity to test the President’s immunity from prosecution.
His announcement comes against the background of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) of the Guyana Police Force and the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) intensify their probes into alleged financial and other property crimes by ministers of the then PPP-led administration.
The Opposition Leader hoped that the British adviser here would help the PPP “prepare our case against individuals in government.”
Jagdeo said he suspects that government is hiding something but failing to take up his call to hire an international firm to “track and trace assets that people hold abroad.”
The former Guyanese leader, other then PPP ministers and top government officials have been under SOCU’s radar for several months now in connection with possibly acquiring large tracts of seaside housing lands at Sparendaam/ Goedverwagting, East Coast Demerara at way below the market prices.