The State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) has been accused on several occasions of being unable to reclaim properties and money which were stolen through various schemes. But SARA officials recently confirmed that the agency has been able to recover over $40M for two land cases.

They said that they are unable to reveal the specifics regarding these two matters as they are bound by confidentiality clauses. Furthermore, the agency has eight other cases pending but they have been affected by the controversial no-confidence motion.

Executive Member of SARA, Eric Phillips, told this news agency that since SARA became legally empowered to recover assets on May 4, 2017, it was only until September of that year that it was able to receive approximately US$2.5M to build the team it needs to recover assets worth over US$1B.

Phillips said that building a team with the requisite skills, hiring lawyers, and putting together the right investigative team takes time. He reminded that SARA is only two years old and that it takes about two to four years to develop a case in the face of missing files, destroyed information, and a legal system that is fraught with its own constraints.

The Senior Executive also noted that the constitutional challenge against the SARA Act by political activist Ramon Gaskin and attorney-at-law Christopher Ram is affecting the agency’s efforts in the courts regarding other cases. The Guyana Standard understands that in the meantime SARA is working on 25 cases, 12 of which are at a 90 per cent state of completion.

That aside, the Agency continues to be criticised for failing to have laid in the National Assembly, an annual report detailing what it has done with its finances for 2017 and its plan of action for 2018. It also continues to operate without a director which is mandated by the SARA Act.


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