…reports on AG, GRA boss abuse of power
Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan, has been quick to inform a visiting team of the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) of the abuse of power by Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Commissioner, Khurshid Sattaur.
He told the IMF that the party has strong reasons to believe that there is massive bribery and corruption in many “behind closed door deals.”
He also drew the attention of the team to the revelations in a 19-minute profanity-laced recorded conversation between Guyana’s Attorney General, Anil Nandlall and a Kaieteur News reporter.
Ramjattan said that extensive mention was made of the discovery by Kaieteur News that the GRA tax boss sent confidential tax information, including the corporate tax files of news agencies to former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
The admission by the Minister of Legal Affairs to misusing taxpayers’ dollars as well as having knowledge of a looming violent attack on the newspaper’s publisher, Glenn Lall and his employees was also reported to the IMF team.
The AFC General Secretary, David Patterson, along with Dominic Gaskin also accompanied Ramjattan to the meeting.
Ramjattan said that the IMF contingent made extensive notes on the damning revelations by the Attorney General and the tax chief.
It informed the AFC that the team will request further information.
The AFC used the opportunity to condemn the government’s use of Prorogation as the tool to smother the majority opposition supported no-confidence motion.
He told the visiting team that such a development has severely imperiledý the stability and order of the State and created huge tensions which will affect business and even the Christmas holiday seasons.
Ramjattan said that the representatives wanted some particulars on Chief Justice Ian Chang’s budget ruling. The IMF also wanted the AFC opinion on the budget ruling.
The issue is whether reduction or cutting line items from the budget is permissible.
The attorney-at-law said that he informed the group that Guyana’s Constitution clearly gave the Committee of Supply and by extension the National Assembly, the power to do both.
The IMF team however asked for a copy of the CJ’s ruling and the relevant arguments which Ramjattan promised to provide.
He informed the team that an appeal of Chang’s ruling is still pending.
The AFC Parliamentarian said that what was also emphasized during the meeting was the massive corruption in the procurement sector especially in the supply of pharmaceuticals to the government.
The New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (GPC), a privately-owned company headed by Dr Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop, the best friend of former President Bharrat Jagdeo, has been the sole supplier.
Ramjattan said that he informed the special contingent of the history of the non -establishment of the Public Procurement Commission and the long standing debate between government and the opposition for the Constitutionally mandated organ to be implemented. The IMF team, he said, requested more details on this front.
“We laid it all out for them right up to the government’s demands for Cabinet’s no objection role in the process of the procurement of contracts,” the AFC leader added.
The delegation also inquired of its perspective of the allegations of the illegal spending of $4.5B by Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh.
While this was not to his surprise, Ramjattan told his publication that he took the representatives through the provisions of the Constitution and those of the Financial Management and Accountability Act of which Dr. Singh was violating.
He reminded the IMF visiting team that it was the IMF that had pressured the government to pass the Act which the Finance Minister is now openly abusing.
Of course, the team asked the AFC for a copy of the laws.
The AFC leader did not hesitate to update the group on what the party believed to be “giveaways in the extractive sector.”
He emphasized to the delegation that the country is not benefitting from the best deals particularly in the forestry and mining sectors.
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