In the VICE News investigation of alleged corruption in Guyana involving Government officials, an undercover Chinese businessman who posed as a potential investor was taken inside the private residence of Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo to meet with him.
In the news piece which has been released by the Showtime television network, Mr. Jagdeo’s tenant and neighbour Su Zhi Rong who operates several businesses in Guyana is seen accompanying the undercover Chinese businessman into Jagdeo’s compound and home.
The meeting followed several undercover meetings with Mr. Su who boasted of being close friends with the Vice President and the person who could guarantee government support for Chinese investments once alleged bribes are paid.
In the undercover video recorded meeting in Jagdeo’s home, the Vice President while saying that he will not get involved in the business, guaranteed the undercover businessman that he will “get the support”, adding that “Su is my friend, he gets all the support”.
“Su deals with all the agreements, I don’t, I don’t…the thing is that I’m in Government, so I assist from Government side, that’s it”, the Vice President is recorded as explaining to the businessman in the presence of Mr. Su, who is seen as the middleman in Chinese deals with the Government.
During the meeting, the undercover businessman and Mr. Su are recorded speaking in Chinese about the alleged bribe that will have to be paid, with Su warning the businessman that he could not speak openly about it there and that he will give him (the Vice President), the money in the presence of the undercover businessman.
As they left the Jagdeo compound still being recorded by hidden cameras, Su could be heard discussing other projects that involved alleged bribe payments.
“His hands are very clean. Other amounts of money before this have been much bigger, like the oil company. The hydroelectric plant needs tens of millions of dollars. He had me handle those, he will never admit that he’s involved in this”, Su told the undercover businessman.
In an earlier undercover meeting between Mr. Su and the undercover businessman, Su explained that any money that he claims would be paid to the Vice President would have to be paid in cash.
“We’ll split the amount with the boss”, Su said as he referred to the Vice President as “the boss”.
He added that “the boss is a part of it and if we are doing business together, my boss is not going to receive the money directly. It’s going to be a service or processing fee. Then he’ll share some of it with me”.
During one of the recorded meetings also, Mr. Su showed the undercover businessman several investment options, with the businessman deciding that he would want to invest in the hotel industry.
Vice News journalist Isobel Yeung had posed as a secretary during some of the meetings between Mr. Su and the undercover Chinese businessman.
She later met with Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo for a sit-down interview. It was during that interview that the journalist questioned the Vice President about his alleged involvement in corrupt practices, using his neighbour and tenant, businessman Su Zhi Rong as his middleman.
Jagdeo denied the accusations while admitting to being friends with Mr. Su.
His office had released the full video interview with the Vice journalist months before the release of the news piece on the American network, Showtime. The investigative piece is titled “Guyana For Sale”.
Mr. Jagdeo has since attacked the Vice News agency for having an “agenda”. He made similar claims during the sit-down interview with the journalist when he was confronted about his friendship with Mr. Su and his alleged involvement in corrupt acts.
“Do you use middlemen like Su to take money on your behalf, so that you can keep your hands clean?”, the journalist quizzed Jagdeo.
“The answer is no”, Jagdeo told the Vice News journalist.
“When the reporters come from abroad, this is their catch you kind of thing. They always want to make a developing country leader look corrupt. And so you have done your bit”, Jagdeo dismissively said, while promising that the allegations put to him by the journalist would be investigated.
The government has not announced the start of any such investigation.
The Vice News piece on Guyana is being aired tonight on the Showtime television network but it is already available on the network’s streaming service.