‘They came and they failed’ – Jagdeo says VICE News vindicates his previous position
In his first public statement since the VICE News interview which was aired on Sunday and levelled allegations of corruption against him, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo on Tuesday reiterated that his hands are clean, a position he maintained in the weeks leading up to the airing of the 16-minute news piece.
Now that the end product of a six-week stint in the country, during which time VICE News claims to have carried out a series of research and investigation, has been aired, Jagdeo said he has in essence been vindicated since the US-based news agency failed to pin him to any act of corruption.
“I feel vindicated in my most unguarded moment,” the Vice President told reporters.
The Vice President, during a press conference at the Office of the President, said that the secretly recorded engagement between himself, his tenant Su Zhi Rong at his home with an undercover reporter posing as a Chinese businessman happened only because he was bombarded by Su over several days to have the meeting.
Jagdeo said he arrived home one afternoon and Su was at his gate asking him to meet with the sham investor who was reportedly leaving the country the next day.
The Vice President made it clear that the alleged ‘investor’ was interested in investing in Su’s business and not the government’s.
According to Jagdeo, even in that unguarded moment, VICE News failed to entangle him in any bribe-taking or corrupt act.
“VICE News came into my house to catch me doing something illegal and taking a bribe… and you couldn’t do that in my most unguarded moment.
“They have done this around the world with leaders they got taking bribes… they are never going to find anything of that nature with me,” the Vice President told the news conference.
Jagdeo said he was not conducting official government business at his home but was rather meeting with an investor of Su whom he described as a friend.
“Su did not get anything special here and it was not a government project, it was his investor he wanted me to meet.”
Jagdeo is now convinced that Su leveraged his access to him and he intends to sue him for reputational damage.
He maintained that VICE News came to Guyana with an agenda to use the country as a geopolitical pawn in the strained relations between China and the United States of America, something he said he told the reporter clearly he had no intention to be involved in.
Jagdeo had months ago released an almost two-hour interview with VICE News and said on Tuesday that there were more damming allegations put to him that never made its way in the final piece produced by the agency.
Jagdeo said apart from VICE News’ reputational issues globally, it was impossible for them to find him taking a bribe because he simply has never been involved in t that.
Jagdeo said even after the secretly recorded meeting at his home, his answers were consistent in the subsequent interview he did with VICE News.
The Vice President said access to him is easy, noting that he has had the same phone number for over 20 years.
“If we shut down that access, we become aloof.”
To prove his case, Jagdeo said all his assets and income are declared with the Integrity Commission since 2000. He said he has no money or assets abroad.
“All my assets are here in Guyana and declared to the Integrity Commission. My sources of income are known to the banks… My sources of income are accounted for and I declare every asset here,” the Vice President added.
Jagdeo said he will take action against Su for false statements he made and advised that those who have been duped by Su could take criminal action against him.
The Vice President said he is looking for Su to evict him but cannot seem to locate him.
But beyond that, the Vice President said anyone who has had to pay for a service in government should come forward and take the information to the police.
“Anybody who has had to pay anybody for a service in government should come forward and state this clearly and take it to the police,” Jagdeo added.