Statement by the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU) in response to the Private Sector Commission’s comments on the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) Bill
Georgetown, Guyana – (February 16, 2017) In accordance with Article 54 (1) (c) of the United Nations’ Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), each State Party must “consider taking such measures as may be necessary to allow confiscation of property without criminal conviction”. In this context, the SARA Bill is designed to facilitate the recovery of illicitly obtained property through civil processes, with the primary objective of reducing the consequential damaging effects of corruption on sustainable development.
The opinions of any Private Sector Commission or equivalent should be principled, balanced and near impartial. Honest business prefers a fair and principled environment. The passage of this Bill will allow the new Agency to direct a laser-like focus on such assets obtained through corruption; the loss of which has frustrated the development of this country.
In some areas of corruption, the size of loss speaks for itself. Before the change of Government, the nation was losing $28-$35 billion each year through procurement fraud. With regard to illicit capital flight, the nation was losing $90 billion every year. Furthermore, the underground economy caused the nation to lose $188 billion per year. This adds up to a grand total of $306-$313 billion per year, which is a conservative figure as according to several international agencies, this amount is grossly understated.
Given the purposes of the Bill and the damaging losses to the economy as stated above, it is imperative that the Bill passed immediately. The scale of corruption discovered by SARU, to date, is astounding. The Guyanese population is eager to see the country’s assets recovered and appropriate action taken against the perpetrators of corruption. The SARA Bill is geared toward these purposes.