Controversial State Assets Recovery Bill presented in National Assembly
Several Bills were this afternoon (Monday, January 30, 2017) presented in the National Assembly including the controversial State Assets Recovery Bill or SARA Bill as it is popularly known.
Attorney General, Basil Williams presented the Bill to the House. It seeks “to establish a State Assets Recovery Agency in consonance with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption 2003 headed by a Director who shall be a corporation sole to recover through civil proceedings State property unlawfully acquired by a public official or any other person, to provide for investigations leading to the granting by the High Court of Restraint and Civil Recovery Orders in respect of unlawfully acquired property, to engage in international cooperation in the recovery of stolen assets of States within the contemplation of the Act, and for related matters.”
The Bill will incorporate the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU) into an agency and will make its operations more efficient. Dr Clive Thomas, Director of SARU had stated that the unit has faced a series of challenges since its establishment in July 2015.
According to Thomas, the Unit was not getting the information it needed due to the lack of legal authority but with the SARA Bill, the authority would be able to demand information and expect a reply. When the legislation comes into force, SARU will merge into SARA.
However, the Opposition had raised concerns, since according to MP, Anil Nandlall, SARA would basically be performing similar functions as other existent agencies.
The Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority (Amendment) Bill 2017 – Bill No. 3/2017 was also presented by the Attorney General. It is “A bill intituled an act to amend the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority Act.”
Meantime, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson presented the Civil Aviation Bill 2017 – Bill No. 1/2017, which is “a Bill intituled AN ACT to establish the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, to make provisions to enable effect to be given to the Chicago Convention and the Agreement establishing the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System, to provide for offences relating to the safety and security of passengers, aircraft and airports, for the regulation, control and orderly development of civil aviation in Guyana and for related matters.