Winston Jordan arrested; charges soon for misconduct in public office
---falls ill and rushed to private hospital
Former Minister of Finance Winston Jordan was arrested by ranks of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) on Thursday for alleged misconduct in public office.
Jordan served as Finance Minister under the previous APNU+AFC government from 2015 to 2020. The News Room was reliably informed that he will soon be charged with the offence and will appear at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, and Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo had both accused Jordan of breaching financial regulations and his fiduciary responsibility while he held the post of Finance Minister.
They claimed that Jordan transferred large tracts of land to individuals, many “far below market value” and “without the requisite public procurement process”.
Another questionable deal, according to the AG, was the US$18 million signing bonus the government received from ExxonMobil. Jordan had received the funds when it signed the 2016 Stabroek Block Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) but this was only made public as a result of intense criticism and repeated questions from the media.
He claimed he was not obligated to reveal the information even though the money was never placed in the Consolidated Fund. In early October 2021, Nandlall had promised to send evidence of these criminal infractions involving Jordan’s “shady” transactions to the police and said that charges were imminent.
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.
Jagdeo had said too that Jordan as Finance Minister got the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to sell vehicles to two of his children for less than $300,000 – another allegation that Jordan has already denied.
Meanwhile, Jordan has since been released on his own recognizance by SOCU after he complained of feeling unwell.
His release was confirmed by his attorney Roysdale Forde, SC, who told the News Room that Jordan fell ill during questioning and had to be rushed to a nearby health facility.
Reports are that his condition worsened and he was subsequently transferred to a private health facility in the city with suspected cerebrovascular complications, commonly called a stroke. Forde believes the arrest is political in nature and is meant to frustrate and silence Jordan.
Meanwhile, also questioned by SOCU on Thursday was businessman Brian Tiwari of BK Inc. The News Room understands that Tiwari was invited to SOCU Headquarters for questioning but while he spent some 30 minutes there he was not made to answer any questions.
“Allegations were put to him but they had all the evidence there,” a source told the News Room.
The charges relate to prime waterfront properties in Kingston, Georgetown, for which BK Marine Inc. reportedly breached contractual obligations.