There would be no place for a State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) under a PPP Presidency. This is according to Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo.
During his interview with the Guyana Standard, the PPP General Secretary made it known that SARA’s functions could be taken up by other agencies such as the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) and still be accomplished without having such a “top heavy structure.”
Jagdeo said, “I indicated before that within the first eight months of a PPP government, we will contract an international firm to trace the assets of PPP officials, Members of Parliament, former Presidents like myself, and of course, members of the APNU+AFC coalition…Now that exercise will set a baseline as to whether politicians have stashed resources abroad that they obtained through corruption. Once you have that baseline, it is easy to go after those politicians because you can check with the Integrity Commission to see if declarations were made.”
The Opposition Leader, added, “Now if they did not make declarations, you can file criminal charges against them. Remember SARA is only about civil charges.”
He noted therefore, that under the PPP, other agencies such as SOCU and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) would be strengthened to address similar matters. “A lot of these things can be accomplished without a top heavy structure that spends nearly $300M of our resources without recovering a cent in civil forfeiture,” expressed the PPP General Secretary.
Head of Transparency International Guyana Inc (TIGI), Dr. Troy Thomas and Ram and McRae Chartered Accountants have also expressed concern with regard to the under-performance of SARA. In previous interviews, both have pointed out that the least the two year-old agency can do for receiving millions of tax dollars is to honour its legislative requirement to file a report on its work in the National Assembly.