The Guyana Government is in overdrive following the United States Treasury Department’s imposition of sanctions on Guyanese businessmen Nazar Mohamed, his son Azruddin Mohamed and the then-Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Mae Thomas Toussaint for alleged corruption.

Stressing the importance of good governance and the dangers of corruption to public servants yesterday was the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira at the opening of a roundtable discussion on ethical behaviour within the public service. The event was held at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown.

She noted that high-ranking public servants must be held accountable to the citizens as they manage their affairs, leading to good governance and effective management of the systems which promote equitable access, fairness, and transparency in Guyana. These officials include Permanent Secretaries, Regional Executive Officers, Procurement Officers, and other technical persons and government agencies like the Ombudsman.

According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), the discussion focused on developing public officials’ capacity to eliminate corruption.  It was held under the theme ‘Promoting integrity and effectiveness in public bodies and authorities responsible for preventing corruption.’

“When you’re a politician [and] if you want to be elected, you have to be accountable to the people… That goes for permanent secretaries who hold power, as well as regional executive officers, overseers at the local government level, Toshaos at the Amerindian village council level, and the treasurers of that level,” DPI quoted the Minister as saying.

She noted that individuals in these positions have a moral obligation to ensure that citizens receive value for the money spent by the government.

“We are now looking at how we develop capacity, what are the kind of training we need to do to make sure that every public servant who is at the highest level knows very well what the rules are…and [these are ones] that does not condone corruption,” Minister Teixeira emphasised.

The discussion also aimed at identifying mechanisms to prevent the abuse of public funds and strengthen institutions so they can function more effectively.

The discussion comes about a month after the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned members of the Mohamed family and Thomas for their alleged roles in public corruption in Guyana.

The report noted that Mae Thomas, while Permanent Secretary to Guyana’s Minister of Home Affairs, allegedly used her position to offer benefits to Mohamed’s Enterprise and Azruddin, among others, in exchange for cash payments and high-value gifts.

“Thomas misused her position to influence the award of official contract bids and the approval processes for weapons permits and passports on behalf of Mohamed’s Enterprise,” the department said.

The Guyana Government is now moving to access that information from the department to inform its next step.


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