Days after Government indicated its intention to seek overseas help to authenticate an explosive tape of one of its senior
Ministers indicating knowledge of threats against the lives of journalists, Kaieteur News has offered to make the phone available to an independent expert.
According to Publisher of Kaieteur News, Glenn Lall, he has seen statements from Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon, who last week announced that Government has asked an entity in North America to help check the recording to ensure it was not doctored.
The Publisher has now offered to make the phone and the recording on it available to an embassy to ensure that it is kept safe, before being handed over to an independent party for authentication.
That recording has to do with a cell phone conversation three weeks ago between Attorney General Anil Nandlall, and senior reporter of Kaieteur News, Leonard Gildarie.
“I don’t understand what is happening here. The Government said they are sending the recording for authentication. What are they really sending? We have the original. One cannot help but think that they are playing for time and want to slow down the investigation,” Lall said.
According to the Publisher, he is not confident of the current investigation going anywhere.
In the 19-minute conversation, a copy which has been handed over to the police, the Attorney General, who is also the Minister of Legal Affairs and the chief legal advisor to Government, is heard telling the reporter to leave Kaieteur News because of an imminent attack over continuing reports published by the newspaper.
He said in the recording: “…Somebody gun go into Kaieteur … they gun just walk with their weapons into that same f**king Saffon Street office and wha come suh do and innocent, Peter gun gah pay fuh f**king Paul in deh one day, me tell you innocent, me tell you honestly, man to man, that will happen soon.”
The Minister also admitted to paying back millions of taxpayers’ dollars he used for a personal medical issue.
Among other things, he attempted to find out a name of a female reporter who participated in an interview with the
AG’s relative who was at the centre of an issue related to his remigrant status. The Government official said he wanted to procure the girl for his relative for sex.
He also described himself as a high caste Indian – a Kshatriya – a statement that caused widespread anger.
Kaieteur News, alarmed at the threats issued by the Minister, had made a criminal complaint, lodging a copy of the recorded phone call with the police. Copies were released to the media and to several of the foreign embassies in Guyana.
The contents of the recordings have sparked massive condemnation of the Minister with anger over his many revelations. There were numerous calls for his resignation and a probe into financial irregularities.
The recording attracted thousands of online hits hours after its release and has refused to go away.
While Government had initially sought to downplay the recording, with President Donald Ramotar saying it was “manipulated”, Nandlall himself later admitted he indeed had a conversation with the reporter who he described as a friend. He even attempted to defend himself against some of the statements made.
The threats have attracted the attention of local and international press bodies which issued separate statements condemning the Minister and calling for increased protection for journalists and media houses seen critical to Government.
Despite the fallout, Government has refused to budge on the Attorney General, making it clear it is behind him. It even accused Kaieteur News of wiretapping. However, the recording was made using a simple application which is available free of charge on most smartphones.
Vice Chairman of the Alliance For Chance (AFC), Moses Nagamootoo, had made it clear that the authenticity of the tape was not so important.
“This is an Attorney General that is there for 24 hours a day, so you have to own up to what you have said. Whether you are saying it to your friend, you are saying it in the capacity that you own.”
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