Embattled Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Presidency Omar Shariff, has broken his silence about the ongoing investigations against him by the Special Organised Crime Unit.
In a statement on Saturday night, Shariff, who has remained silent since the probe began, denied any involvement in the embezzlement of public funds and he also lashed out at sections of the media for sensational reporting on the issue.
Mr. Shariff, who was also a candidate for the PPP at the last elections, was sent on leave when the investigations into his wealth started two months ago.
He said after consultation with his attorney, he has been advised that “it is now appropriate and has become necessary for me to address the false and unsubstantiated allegations and imputations being published by the electronic, broadcast and print media.”
Shariff said the probe has to do with a personal income tax matter regarding his private business. adding that “the distortion of this personal income tax matter to make it appear to be theft and embezzlement of public funds was without any factual foundation and mischievous by those who did so.”
“I would like it to be known that I have not been involved by myself or in collusion with others in any theft or embezzlement of public funds”, he assured.
He has also denied reports that he has bank accounts with billions of dollars.
“I am unable to discern from where the publications have concluded that I was holding billions of dollars in my accounts; this is simply not true. The continued publication of these have caused me and my family great concern- security, hardship and otherwise.”
He also said he is disappointed that information that he provided to SOCU and which SOCU took from his home pursuant to a search warrant, “has found its way into the public domain and has been deliberately skewed, distorted, misrepresented and misinterpreted for obvious sensationalism, implying I had stolen billions of dollars of public funds and owned billions of dollars’ worth of property and shares in public companies; none of which have any factual underpinning. This is simply not true.”
He said since the commencement of the investigation by SOCU and other agencies, he has cooperated fully at every level of the process and has provided all of the information asked for “while making myself available to answer any and all questions about my business, its revenue and related tax matters.”
“I deny all allegations which seek to link me and my business to money laundering, tax evasion and any corrupt practice that arise as a result of misuse of public funds or the breakage of the law”, he said.
He said he has confidence in the Government and expects due process and justice to prevail and the rule of law maintained.
“I am confident that I will be vindicated at the end of this matter”, the PS noted.