Jagdeo says facilitates investments, amid Su claims of under-the-table “processing” fee

Last Updated on Monday, 20 June 2022, 12:19 by Writer

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo during his interaction with Mr Su and the Vice News journalists who posed as investors.

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo has indicated that he facilitates investment deals but does not get into the actual financial transactions, during facilitation talks at his residence by Chinese businessman, Su Zhi Rong, in the presence of Vice News journalists posing as Chinese investors who were interested in a large scale investment opportunity for prime lands that could accommodate a hotel and casino.

“I’m not getting involved in business. Su is my friend. He gets all the support. Su deals with all the agreements. I don’t, I don’t. The thing is that, my thing is that I’m in government so I assist from government side. That’s it,” Mr. Jagdeo said at his sprawling residence at Goedverwagting, East Coast Demerara.

Mr. Jagdeo on Sunday did not immediately comment on the Vice News production seen so far by him, but promised to do so later.

When the Vice President released the full interview with Vice News earlier this year, he had vehemently denied taking bribes from Chinese middlemen and Su had even issued a separate statement rubbishing suggestions that he was a deal-making middleman.

The Vice News journalist is seen recording an audio conversation purportedly with Mr. Su who says, “once the money is in Guyana, I will give him the cash. The Vice President finds this the easiest and most convenient. With these procedures no one can pick up on us.”

But in the Vice News production titled ‘Guyana For Sale’, Su said, according to a text transcription from Mandarin to Chinese: “I have to know that the money is going to him (Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo). Don’t worry I will give him the money with you.”

On wrapping up the discussion at Mr. Jagdeo’s residence among Mr. Su and the undercover Vice News team, Mr Su remarked that the top elected government official’s “hands are very clean”. The Chinese businessman, who has large investments in logging and other sectors, indicated that he has brokered deals in the oil sector and the construction of a proposed hydroelectricity power plant. “The hydroelectric power plant needs tens of millions of dollars. He had me handle those. He will never admit that he’s involved in this,” Mr. Su said also through a voice-to-text translation.

The Guyana government has since called off negotiations with China Railway Group Limited, saying that the company has found that the build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) model was no longer feasible and would instead prefer an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model.

Mr. Su told the Vice News journalists that he had good connections with the Vice President and would split the “processing fee” with Mr. Jagdeo. “If we are doing business together, my boss is not going to receive the money directly. It’s going to be a “service” or “processing” fee. Then he’ll share some of it with me,” he said.

Without naming the company, Vice News quoted an unnamed General Manager of China’s largest state-owned construction form as saying that “the consulting fee is the bribe” and “they don’t do any actual consulting.”