AFC calls for international audit probe into procurement of contracts

Last Updated on Monday, 20 June 2022, 11:14 by Writer

The Sheila Holder Centre for Change- the AFC’s headquarters located on Railway Embankment Road, Kitty.

The Alliance For Change (AFC) on Sunday urged the Guyana g0vernment to hire international auditors to investigate the award of large-scale contracts, in the wake of an American news feature that cast the spotlight on alleged underhand dealings mainly with Chinese investors.

The AFC’s call was triggered after news circulated earlier Sunday based on a Vice News report in which Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo stated that his friend and tenant, Guyana-based Chinese businessman, Su Zhi Rong, handled all agreements and he (Mr Jagdeo) is in government and assists with the government side.

“In light of the damning report by Showtime, a US cable news network in awarding procurement contracts, the Alliance For Change (AFC) calls for an immediate independent investigation and audit into the procurement and awarding of contracts in Guyana. We further demand that a leading internationally recognized auditing firm conducts this investigation,” that party said.

The AFC, which is in a coalition with the People’s National Congress Reform-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), said the awarding of contracts to extract Guyana’s natural resources must comply with standard international best practices, and the laws and the frameworks should be tightened if the audit team makes such recommendations.

“Additionally, we expect this investigation to make recommendations on their findings and changes in the legal and regulatory framework in the award of large contracts and the disposal of the national resources of the county as may be necessary,” the AFC added. The National Procurement and Tender Administration Board is made up of persons who are favoured or closely aligned with the governing party at any given time.

The AFC recommended that the international anti-corruption watchdog organization Transparency International should investigate the matter and render its findings.

Mr Su alleged to the undercover Vice News journalists, who posed as Chinese investors who were interested in acquiring prime lands for a hotel and casino to target oil industry clientele that he is required to collect the “processing” or “service” fee so that there is no traceability and then Mr Jagdeo allegedly splits the proceeds with him.

“It is now evident that the opportunities for investment in Guyana for the orderly extraction of the country's national resources are being restricted to a select and chosen few in a highly corrupt practice,” according to that party.

Vice President Jagdeo has since indicated that Mr. Su lied in his denial of any such involvement several weeks ago and that he would be evicting him from his property. The key elected official, who is regarded in some circles as the major power wielder, accused Mr Su of extortion and sullying his name which could see either criminal or civil legal action being taken.

Mr. Jagdeo has said no one has to bribe government officials to get contracts.