State Asset Recovery Agency commences training for its operatives

DPI, Guyana, Monday, November 20, 2017

The State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA) in collaboration with the Caribbean Institute of Forensic Accounting (CIFA) today launched “A Law Enforcement Training Series” on Assets Recovery and Financial Investigations.

Speaking at the opening ceremony at the Felix Austin Training Centre, Camp Road, Director of SARA, Professor Clive Thomas told the trainees, drawn from several state agencies that the exercise is mandated by law.

From L-R Godfrey Statia, Head, GRA, , Professor Clive Thomas, Director, SARA, Aubrey Retemyer, Deputy Head SARA.

“The law in its wisdom mandates me to treat training as a priority. I have to train you, not because I think training is necessary, but I am compelled by law to provide you with training and that, I will do. You are here to undergo systematic training and for that you have to be diligent, attentive and certainly you have to be punctual,” the SARA head said.

Further, Professor Thomas said that the training to be undertaken is critical if the agency is to succeed at the task of asset tracking and recovery

“The law also gives me other powers, but those powers can only be exercised on the basis of the competence of those persons who are executing on SARA’s behalf or in the name of anti-corruption. I am also compelled by law to ensure that you are certified and that is why during these sets of programmes we are going to try to ensure everybody comes out with some basic certification of what they have done,” Professor Thomas added.

Among the agencies participating in the training which is scheduled for four weeks, are the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The training will be overseen by Stephon Grey, Head of the CIFA and brings together experts from around the world. Among the trainers are Steven Baker, a leading asset recovery attorney and expert out of Europe, Senneth Joseph, former Head of the Grenada FIU, Mark Hood from England Rene Cummings from the United States of America.

According to Grey, “Trainees will be exposed to several topics relevant to asset recovery and asset tracing”.

In brief remarks, Commissioner of GRA, Godfrey Statia said: “Corruption accounts for 45 percent of all frauds which take place in Latin America and the Caribbean, therefore Guyana is not alone and we should try to reduce that fraud and find the culprits.”

In addition, Statia committed to working with all the agencies for the good of the country and emphasised the importance of networking among the various agencies involved in the fight against corruption.

“Until we have a common database you’ll have to ask your colleagues for information. Sometimes laws will stymie access to that information, but that does not mean you cannot come together and use your resources so as to meet the end result,” Statia explained.

According to its website, the Caribbean Institute of Forensic Accounting (CIFA) is the only Caribbean-based institute dedicated to providing training in anti-fraud and forensic accounting throughout the region. Established in 2008, CIFA has provided training to industry professionals in approximately one hundred organisations spanning eleven Caribbean territories.

 

By: Kidackie Amsterdam

 

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