Since being constituted in 2017, the State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA) has not submitted a report to the National Assembly regarding its work. In addition to this, it has not taken a single case for the forfeiture of stolen state assets before the local courts.
Taking these two factors into consideration, head of Transparency International Guyana Inc (TIGI), Dr. Troy Thomas says he is concerned with SARA’s poor performance and lack of accountability.
During an interview with the Guyana Standard today, Dr. Thomas stressed that SARA is legally required to submit a report to the National Assembly. “In the absence of this, we don’t know what they have been up to. From an accountability standpoint, that is a concern. And we need to know why this is the case,” expressed Dr. Thomas.
The TIGI Head continued, “Indeed, one would have expected that SARA would have more to show by now, there were high expectations of them. Officials in charge need to come forward and explain this state of affairs otherwise people will continue with questions on whether we are getting value for money from this agency.”
Dr. Thomas would not be the first to criticise SARA for its operations. The Agency also came under fire last year by Ram and McRae Chartered Accountants. The firm noted that SARA for 2019 received $285M, an increase of $25M or 9.6% from the $260M received in 2018. Considering the substantial funds it receives, Ram and McRae said the least the Agency should do is adhere to its reporting requirements.
The firm is of the view that the Agency has clearly failed to live up to the hype and fanfare which accompanied its establishment when it was expected to recover several billions of State Assets each year. It suggested that the Government scrap the Agency altogether and assign its responsibilities to the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU).