No singular agency can combat corruption – Director of SARA

DPI, Guyana, Monday, November 20, 2017

Director of the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA), Professor Clive Thomas, says no singular agency can successfully combat corruption in Guyana and he is duty bound to cooperate with other agencies in the quest to recover stolen assets of the state.

Professor Thomas, speaking at the opening ceremony for a law enforcement training session on assets recovery and financial investigations said, “We have invited other agencies to participate in this training and the reason for that is that the law mandates me to cooperate with other agencies in the pursuit of the task of SARA, so I have a fundamental responsibility to work with other agencies I am convinced the law by doing that, enshrined the important idea that corruption cannot be tackled in Guyana by one single institution it has to be multi-pronged .”

Professor Clive Thomas, Director of Head of the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA).

Meanwhile, when asked to comment on opposition claims of the agency being a political hack, the SARA head said the claim is unsubstantiated.

“I don’t take the criticism as being anything more than a promotional exercise on those of the parts of those who have something to hide. We have never gone after any political person. There is no evidence of that. They alleged it in one case where we have been involved and the [judge] threw out the case and said we were right to cease the [computers]because they did, in fact, had it in the minutes. That’s the Enmore case that has been recently thrown out.”

High Court Judge, Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry on Monday last dismissed a case brought by the Enmore Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) against Professor Thomas, Aubrey Heath- Retemyer and Attorney General, Basil Williams S.C, for damages for trespass, unlawful seizure and confiscation of a quantity of desktop computer systems and power packs, among other reliefs.

Justice Sewnarine-Beharry dismissed the case due to the failure of the claimant’s attorney, Anil Nandlall, to comply with the Case Management timelines set by the Judge, pursuant to the new Civil Procedure Rules. The attorney has failed to comply with the Case Management timetable by not filing and serving any Affidavit of Documentary Evidence, and a complete list of witness or witnesses in the said matter.

The STATE ASSETS RECOVERY ACT 2017, ACT No. 14 of 2017, was passed by the National Assembly on April 13, 2017, and assented to by His Excellency President David Granger on May 04, 2017.

The Act among other things empowers the trace and identification of property, whether situated in Guyana or in a foreign state or territory, of persons, suspected to be state property obtained or derived, directly or indirectly, from unlawful conduct involving a public official or any other person, including where such property is held by, or for the benefit of, third parties.

The training series is expected to last approximately four weeks and will see participation from agencies such as the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).

 

By: Kidackie Amsterdam

 

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