Should charges be laid against former and current government officials for conditions of service? – Anil Nandlall

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 April 2017, 22:04 by Denis Chabrol

I have been charged for stealing books, the subscriptions for which were paid for by the Government of Guyana, which I specifically requested as a condition of my service as Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs and which was granted by the President of the Republic of Guyana. The market value for these books is about $420,000.

Sometime in the mid 1980s, the then Chancellor of the Judiciary, Mr. Keith Massiah, was offered the position of Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs by President Desmond Hoyte, upon his retirement as Chancellor. Chancellor Massiah, indicated his willingness to accept the appointment only if he would enjoy the same remuneration package which he enjoyed as Chancellor. This package was more than double of what a Minister was paid at the time. Mr. Desmond Hoyte granted that request. Mr. Massiah was appointed Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs and was paid that remuneration package for several years until they lost the 1992 elections. The total sum paid even then would have run into millions of dollars. Should Mr. Keith Massiah now not be charged with larceny?

The Coalition Government, as a collective, sat at a meeting of Cabinet and made a decision to pay themselves a 50% increase in salary as part of their contract of service. The incredible rationale was that they were earning this level of income prior to their appointment. I challenge anyone of them, publicly, to prove that they were earning this level of income. This increase in salary is a recurring monthly expenditure on the treasury running into millions per month and hundreds of millions annually. Should each of them not be charged with obtaining money by fraud or by false pretenses?

Additionally, at the same Cabinet meeting Moses Nagamootoo demanded that the Prime Minister’s salary, as a matter of principle, must be higher than that of the Attorney General. As a result, his salary was increased by a further few hundred thousand to make it higher than  the Attorney General’s.

Again, this became part of his contract for service. I challenge the Prime Minister to show that he was earning $1.7M per month prior to his appointment. Again, this is a monthly recurring expenditure that is costing taxpayers over $20M annually. Should the Prime Minister not be charged for obtaining money by fraud?

On top of this astronomical increase in salaries, I am aware that the Government is renting residential premises in which ministers reside at an average monthly rental of $500,000 -$1M. This is costing the treasury millions of dollars annually. These rentals are obviously part of these ministers’ contract of service. Should they not be charged with some fraudulent offence as well?

Two ministers are currently on scholarships. This must be part of their contract of service. These two scholarships are costing taxpayers approximately  $7M. Should charges not be filed here too?

By a Cabinet decision, this Government rents a house in Albouystown from a party crony for $14M per month to use as a drug bond when a property of similar size, condition and in the same neighbourhood can be rented for $150,000 per month and when they refused the same square footage of space offered to them in writing at the New GPC Storage Bond, a world-class storage facility for pharmaceuticals, at a rental of $1.3M per month. Taxpayers continue to pay this $14M in rent monthly. Why should the entire Cabinet not be charged for this criminal wastage of taxpayers’ money.

As President David Granger said to Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo recently, “I recognise that Governments change and the shoe is on the other foot.” Clearly, his Attorney General does not understand this reality.

Mr. Anil Nandlall was last week charged with larceny by bailey in relation to several Commonwealth Law Reports valued GYD $2.3 million. He has said that that subscription had been part of his condition of service as Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs to compensate for a loss of income.