The State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) is being led by economist Dr Clive Thomas; Executive Member of the African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA), Eric Phillips; and Major (Rtd.) Aubrey Heath-Retemyer. These individuals have ties to the APNU+AFC Government. As such, they will not be able to run away from the perception that SARA’s investigations are politically influenced, says Head of Transparency International Guyana Inc. (TIGI), Dr Troy Thomas.
During an exclusive interview with the Guyana Standard today, Dr Thomas said that if no action is taken to correct this then the perception will continue to undermine the public’s confidence in the institution.
The TIGI Head said, “I wish to clarify that I am not saying these individuals are biased or do their work in a biased way. But sometimes the very look of something can affect the public’s trust in an agency…Dr Thomas is known to be associated with the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) and the other gentlemen are said to be connected to the APNU. So they cannot run away from the perception.”
In the past few weeks, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has made every effort to remind the citizenry that it has zero trust in SARA’s ability to do any independent probe due to the persons running the agency. One of SARA’s top cases is the Pradoville Two matter which centres on lands being sold to PPP officials at highly undervalued rates. But the integrity of its investigation is constantly under attack due to the political affiliations of SARA’s Directors.
Dr Thomas shared with the Guyana Standard that while he remains hopeful about the introduction of SARA to Guyana’s lineup of corruption fighting entities, it has to put in place a code of ethics and publish the criteria it uses to select cases. He stressed that this is necessary so that the public can hold them accountable for how it goes about selecting and investigating matters.