Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo has denied that he has ever accepted bribes from Chinese companies in exchange for large contracts in Guyana.
In a wide-ranging interview, a New-York based correspondent for Vice-News told the Vice-President that a number of Chinese businessmen have related that the only way to get business done in Guyana is to pay a bribe, and one Chinese businessman singled out the Vice-President himself.
“I can’t comment on that because it will be an anonymous person and you can just sit there and fabricate that, if you name the person that is fine. Any reporters who come from abroad this is their ‘catch-you’ kind of thing, they always want to make a developing country leader look corrupt. So you have done your bit unless you say who the person is,” the Vice President charged as he called on the reporter to provide a name.
The reporter provided the name of a Chinese businessman, a Mr. Su, and that appeared to have taken the Vice President by surprise. The Vice President while denying any wrongdoing said he was warned against doing the interview.
“Su? Oh, Su? My relationship? Oh, nothing he is a tenant in my place. Yes, yes he is a friend of ours, his father was here from many years ago,” Mr. Jagdeo admitted.
When Mr. Jagdeo admitted to knowing Mr. Su, he was questioned about the alleged claims by the businessman that through his close relationship with the Vice President, laws were changed to facilitate investors and the Vice President was a beneficiary of bribery.
The Vice President repeatedly denied the accusations that many investors find it difficult to get business done in Guyana without his direct involvement and approval.
Facing the allegations from the Chinese businessman, Vice President Jagdeo said that he normally creates the environment for foreign companies to conduct their businesses here smoothly.
“So I help people out but it does not mean for consideration, it does not mean for a bribe because I believe we have a mission to help as many people as possible,” the Vice President said.
According to the Vice President, Mr. Su who has been identified as a lobbyist for Chinese businesses does not act as any middle man for him contrary to the reports.
The Vice President said all of his financial statements have been furnished to the Integrity Commission. The Integrity Commission is among a number of constitutional commissions still to be reconstituted by the current Government.