State assets can’t be recovered unless court decides they were stolen – SARA

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The State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) has indicated it cannot recover stolen State assets unless criminal rulings so dictate.

Further, in response to a formal call from Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira for the Agency to launch probes into some of the biggest scandals under the Coalition Government, SARA said it “cannot initiate investigations without first receiving a complaint.”

Professor Clive Thomas, the Director of SARA, in a response to Teixeira which was made public, explained that the Agency cannot pursue criminal cases or put individuals in jail.

“SARA’s mandate is to recover State assets through civil recovery and not through criminal recovery.

“In many cases, some of which are mentioned in your letter, SARAhas to await criminal proceedings which take precedence, before engaging in civil recovery, making the life cycle of civil recovery delayed,” Professor Thomas stated.

He cited, as an example, newspaper articles concerning “unexplained wealth” of a former government official.

“SARA has seen numerous newspapers reports about a Permanent Secretary under your government who had$20 plus billion passing through his bank accounts. SARA has not investigated him because it is a criminal case,” he explained.

SARA had invited the Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo to participate in its symbolic “Anti-Corruption March” today but Teixeira sent a letter Professor Thomas, rejecting the invitation.

Teixeira contended that if SARA was truly serious about fighting corruption, it would launch investigations into instances like the Durban Park Development Project, the Sussex Street Drug Bond scandal, the renegotiations of the ExxonMobil Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), among others.

Professor Thomas, in response to the rejection, expressed disappointment with the Parliamentary Opposition’s stance on this issue.

See full letter from SARA here: Letter to Leader of the Opposition.

See full letter from Teixeira here.

 

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