A scoping mission from the World Bank’s Stolen Assets Recovery Agency is currently in Guyana to lend support to the government in the recovery of state assets which have been stolen or diverted to uses other than intended.
State Minister Joseph Harmon reported today on the visiting delegation’s presence and said the government is encouraged by the move.
The team has started meeting and will continue to host meetings with government officials, members of civil society, the judiciary and other agencies which are able to advise on the recovery of stolen assets.
After the meetings, the mission will meet and craft an action plan, Harmon said.
They are expected back in Guyana by the end of March to present the plan to government and work with Guyana’s State Asset Recovery Unit (SARU) on the way forward.
The serving coalition government had placed a lot on emphasis on the recovery of assets belonging to the state when it came to office in May 2015. It had contacted several international firms seeking assistance with audits and even set up its own asset recovery unit which has been carrying out several independent investigations of its own.
There were reports of several missing state vehicles just after the May 2015 elections but the coalition government is yet to report on the identification and retrieval of those vehicles among other assets, except the vehicles which were allegedly in the possession of the former Public Service Minister.
It was found that several deals which could be termed “odd “were transacted with the last government, all of which is being investigated, particularly those negotiated by the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL).
The coalition government’s failure to prove administrative corruption within the last administration or convict any former government officials has caused the now opposition PPP to conclude that corruption only existed in the heads of those claiming it.
But, former Minister Jennifer Westford is currently before the courts for attempting to transfer several government vehicles to herself and friends.
At least two other former government officials are being investigated for transferring state funds to their personal accounts.
Harmon is insisting that the APNU+AFC government is onto something and said it should be given time to gather enough information so that their cases can stand up in a court of law.
(Kurt Campbell for News Source)