The leader of the political opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo continues to accuse the government of being neck-deep in corruption.
At a press conference which was held earlier today at his Church Street, Office, the former President said that the David Granger-led administration needs to stop the “bribe-taking” – which he says is rampant.
The politician even added that the government is in “grabbing-mode”.
“They are basically grabbing because they know they are a one-term government. All of the ministries are grabbing…Most of the ministers – maybe 90 percent of these ministers are grabbing,” Jagdeo alleged.
The politician made a call specifically to the State Minister, Joseph Harmon, asking him to stop the “runnings” that purportedly exists within government-controlled entities.
Challenged by the Guyana Standard to give examples of these “runnings”, the politician recoiled; encouraging the media to do “their own digging”.
Jagdeo later announced that there were at least eight instances of bribe-taking in the past on which he has already ventilated his concerns.
Chief amongst these instances, he recounted, was the docking of a vessel that had been fingered in fuel smuggling.
“What about the one with the fuel smuggling? Dig deeper and you will get all the connections. Then you will see how high it goes up into the government,” the former Head of State said.
The Opposition Leader said too that the fuel smuggling racket is the reason why the government refuses to change the prices at the pump station.
Furthermore, Jagdeo said that if the media wants to get another clear example of government’s “grabbing-mode”, he suggested that one goes undercover to get a gun licence. He said that the cost involved would prove him to be accurate in his accusations against the government.
Back in April, the authorities took control of the vessel, “Jubilee” which is reportedly linked to several local business persons. Media reports indicate that the vessel reportedly purchased fuel from Trinidad and Tobago for Suriname. However, the customer in Suriname reportedly backed out of the purchase.
The vessel which entered Port Georgetown was subsequently caught with 600, 000 litres of unmarked fuel by Customs officers.
Smuggled fuel continues to be an issue for Guyana, with millions of dollars in taxes being evaded annually. With up to 50 percent in taxes charged, smugglers have been having a field day selling to loggers, miners and residents in the hinterland.
A number of gas stations are said to be involved in the business too, with stolen Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) markers which indicate taxes have been paid, being used to legitimise the fuel at the pumps.
An Audit Report back in 2015 would have picked up on some of these occurrences.