Gov’t to send evidence to police on fmr. Finance Minister’s ‘nefarious’ acts
--Other former gov’t officials also up for investigation
The police will soon open an investigation into several “shady” transactions that allegedly involved former Finance Minister under the APNU+AFC government Winston Jordan and other former government officials.
Those investigations will likely lead to charges being laid against several persons and are seen as a fulfilment of promises made by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, Attorney General Anil Nandlall SC said on Thursday.
During a briefing with some reporters at the Office of the President, the AG said the necessary files have already been compiled and will soon be sent to the Guyana Police Force and other law enforcement and state investigative agencies.
The PPP/C while in Opposition had identified a number of contracts and sales authorised by the previous APNU+AFC administration that it had promised to investigate once it got into government to ensure that those who benefitted illegally will be punished according to the law.
One year on, Nandlall said that the government has not lost sight of those promises. The Attorney General singled out Jordan’s alleged involvement in the sale of several high-end vehicles from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), without due process, to his relatives.
The AG also pointed to the sale of State properties, many “far below market value” and “without the requisite public procurement process”. These sales, he said, took place after the Coalition Government fell on a No-Confidence Vote in December 2018 and even after its loss at the March 02, 20220 elections.
“Those transactions are clearly offensive to law and therefore ought to be subjected to law,” the AG lamented.
Several other APNU+AFC officials have also been implicated in those land transactions, particularly on the East Coast and East Bank of Demerara.
The PPP/C government has already settled some of the land matters but according to Nandlall, “we have not even reached the tip of the iceberg.”
“Hundreds of these transactions – where there were giveaways of prime state lands in prime areas in particular on the banks of various rivers [and] – have peculiar value to the oil and gas sector…we have not even touched those transactions as yet,” he highlighted.
Another questionable deal, according to the AG, was the US$18 million signing bonus the government received from ExxonMobil.
“The Finance Minister at the time completely denied having ever received that $18 million bonus and then we found that it was deposited in some account at the Central Bank authorised by him in writing.
“These are matters that will continue to receive the attention of the relevant state agencies and the investigative arm of the state,” the Attorney General affirmed.
The Attorney General noted that the government has faced criticism over the slow pace at which these investigations are moving but he assured that the matters are still being addressed and were not “swept under the rug.”