…Bharrat Jagdeo now a private citizen without immunity – Harmon
J Edgar Hoover is the late famed director of the USA’s Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and used his office to amass secret files on political leaders and was reportedly in a position to intimidate and threaten anybody including sitting Presidents.
Because of his blackmailing tactics, he was able to serve as the helm of the agency for decades, eventually dying in office.
With the recent revelations local about tax boss, Khurshid Sattaur, some are wondering whether he will be allowed to continue carry out vendettas like Hoover.
Sattaur has already effectively silenced popular columnist and social activist, Freddie Kissoon, and in a recent boast in an email sent to Attorney General Anil Nandlall, he wrote “It is instructive to note that the reason why Freddie is now averse (reluctant) to writing trash concerning me is because a multi-million-dollar assessments hang over his head like the sword of demacles (sic).”
Sattaur was also instructive in seeking to silence a prominent local businessman who was critical of the former President Bharrat Jagdeo, by launching a full scale audit into his operations.
Included in the leaked emails sent by Sattaur to Nandlall, he also spoke of an impending audit of the Kaieteur News even as Editor-in-Chief, Adam Harris, lament officials inquiring of his bank information.
A Partnership For National Unity’s (APNU), General Secretary, Joseph Harmon, is now reporting too that he has been threatened by Sattaur and has also stated that given the recent revelations, all opposition Members of Parliament should feel threatened by the Guyana Revenue Authority boss.
Harmon during an explosive interview with this publication recently said that “the Commissioner General has said publicly that he knows how much money I work for and that if anything were to happen to his children that he will file an action against me and I have the capacity to pay that money.”
According to Harmon, “this is a personal experience of mine where the Commissioner General has written in the newspapers…He has written to say that he knows exactly what my assets are and that if anything were to happen to his children that he knows I have the capacity to do it..What is he doing? Isn’t he exposing me, isn’t he saying to the rest of the world that this man like he got some money somewhere?”
Harmon was adamant that Sattaur is not fit to hold the office of Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority.
He said what Sattaur did to him inherently is a threat and while he is not personally moved by it other Opposition Members ought to feel at risk.
“They have to feel at risk because this is a man who has no problems in releasing information on your personal financial standing.”
Harmon said that this risk should not be seen to be against the Opposition Members alone, adding that Sattaur seems to be a man capable of releasing personal financial information on members of the Private Sector as well.
Plot to Silence Media
He drew reference too, to a recent Sectoral Committee of Parliament meeting where the Opposition Members sought to identify how much taxes and royalty is paid to the Guyana Revenue Authority by Bosai, given the controversy over the amounts that should be paid to the country.
According to Harmon, Natural Resource Minister, Robert Persaud, told the Committee that the information could not be access by him from GRA or released unless Bosai agreed.
Harmon questioned rhetorically whether any of the local media houses consented to having their confidential tax information released to Former President, Bharrat Jagdeo.
He said that the disclosures point to the double standards perpetrated by Sattaur at the helm of the Guyana Revenue Authority.
“This has to be part of a dynamic plot to silence the media, to muzzle the media,” according to Harmon.
According to the senior opposition member, “Kaieteur News, as far as I am concerned, is just the first step and anybody who seeks to criticize this government, anybody who takes a stand against this government must expect similar treatment.”
Jagdeo a Private Citizen
Meanwhile, weighing in on the involvement of the former president, Jagdeo, in the release of the tax information on several local media houses, Harmon said in no uncertain terms that Jagdeo is a private citizen who is not entitled to receive such information.
According to Harmon, the former president therefore has no right to receive any such information of that nature from Sattaur since he is no longer protected by any level of immunity that would have come with his office.
Harmon who is also a practicing Attorney-at-Law, said if Sattaur volunteered the information to Jagdeo, “that makes it even worse…that makes it, as far as I am concerned, an act of malfeasance in public office”
Turning his attention to the emails and recent revelations by Sattaur, confirming that he did in fact provide confidential information to the former President, Harmon reminded that Sattaur is the person responsible for sensitive information, such as taxes paid by companies and individuals, and as such what transpired must be recognized that as a serious violation and breach of trust.
According to Harmon the recent disclosures on Sattaur speaks to an incompetence in office and a breach of trust the Guyanese people would have placed in the Office of the Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority.
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