SARA working to retrieve state assets

– $200B lost between 2010 and 2014 from corruption – SARA, CEO

DPI, Guyana, Monday, July 09, 2018

The State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) is working tirelessly with the Ministry of Legal Affairs to retrieve over $200B in state assets lost through corruption between 2010 to 2014.

Chief Executive Officer of the State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA), Aubrey Heath-Retemyer.

This is according to SARA Chief Executive Officer, Aubrey Heath-Retemyer, who was at the time addressing a gathering at a recent Anti-Corruption Sensitisation Seminar in Region Seven hosted by the Ministry of Legal Affairs. “We have been losing between $28B and $35B every year between 2010 and 2014 by procurement fraud, in illicit capital flights-$90 billion and in the underground economy (drugs) – about $100 billion. Corruption allows people to steal and if we reduce it much of the friction around election time will stop because everybody will get their fair share of the pie.”

The three major forms of corruption are: procurement fraud – fraud related to purchase of goods, services, or commissioning of construction projects; illicit capital flight – money, commodities, (gold) or other assets, whether legally obtained or otherwise by residents, which are intentionally transferred, smuggled, or sent abroad without the knowledge of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), or other regulatory authorities; and the underground economy – corrupt transactions that are prohibited by law and/or are undertaken by unauthorised providers.

The CEO pointed out that SARA is working on a number of activities to change the culture and behaviour of people as it relates to corruption. He added that the anti-corruption legislation will be strengthened since corruption is corrosive and impairs good governance.

To date, over two million acres of lands were retrieved, there was also the seizure of some amount of gold, and the underground economy is almost nonexistent, Heath-Retemyer said.

“Some people complain that they [government] should let the drugs flow because they would get jobs, etc. But, if drugs were allowed, and the underground community continued to flourish, you could have lost your sons and daughters to kidnapping and ransom. We were at the point where there would have been serious problems. The international community also informed us that the country was losing 15,000 ounces of gold per week, so the efforts to reduce corruption are well worth it.”

By: Ranetta La Fleur.