“I don’t care”- Jagdeo on possible charge by SOCU

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Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, who was in the past questioned by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) for an investigation into the upscale Pradoville 2 housing development, Thursday afternoon said he does not care if charges are filed against him.

The possibility of criminal charges being brought against Jagdeo was raised after Dr. Ashni Singh who served as Finance Minister under the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and former head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Winston Brassington, were charged on April 12 by SOCU.

The charges read ‘Misconduct in public office: Contrary to the Common Law.’

Jagdeo, at a press conference on Thursday, said he is not bothered. In fact, he said “I don’t care (x3) they will do what they have to do, I have made it clear ‘you go ahead and you throw the worst at us’ because that is the expectation because they have approached this politically from the beginning.”

Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs), Juan Edghill and Vikram Bharat have brought private criminal charges against former and current Ministers of Public Health, Dr. George Norton and Volda Lawrence, along the same lines for which Singh and Brassington were charged.

However, Jagdeo assured that it is not a ‘tit-for-tat’ and the charges against the Ministers would have been submitted regardless.

He told reporters that, “they would have come up but, maybe slightly different because what they did, is define what misconduct in public office means.”

The Opposition Leader echoed sentiments expressed by Attorney-at-law Anil Nandlall that charges will be brought against other government ministers.

Jagdeo was questioned in March 2017 regarding the Sparendaam Housing Project, better known as Pradoville 2, where he built a mansion by the sea. The Pradoville investigation is part of a larger probe of the financial operations of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA), which found that awardees grossly underpaid for the lots by a total of nearly $250 million, while the state-owned National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), National Communications Network (NCN) and Guyana Power and Light Inc (GPL) were never reimbursed for millions spent to execute preparatory works.

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