Members of the political opposition are of the firm belief that the damning findings of the Ombudsman’s report which reveal a “maliciously trumped up” fraud charge against former Chief Executive Officer of the New Building Society (NBS) and two other Managers, exposes former President Bharrat Jagdeo’s deceitful and vindictive nature.
A Partnership for National Unity’s (APNU) Shadow Minister of Finance, Carl Greenidge and Shadow Minister for Public Works, Joseph Harmon were very outspoken on the matter.
Greenidge first sought to congratulate Ombudsman, Winston Moore for the courageous commitment he displayed in being forthright and independent as he revealed the abuse of powers by the state organs in his report.
The former Finance Minister said that he is pleased that Moore was not cowed by “vindictive elements” of the government as it relates to handling the case in such a manner.
The report by the Office of the Ombudsman has concluded that police wrongfully charged the former NBS boss, Maurice Arjoon and two of his Managers for a massive $69M fraud at the New Building Society, in 2006.
The report, which was released this month, was based on complaints made by Arjoon, who claimed that he was framed after he refused to illegally endorse the lending of $2B for an investment into the Berbice River Bridge in 2006.
Arjoon’s decision to only lend $350M in keeping with the country’s financial laws angered former President Bharrat Jagdeo, who allegedly threatened to “deal with the CEO.”
Months later, fraud charges were laid against the former CEO and his two senior Managers, Kent Vincent and Kissoon Baldeo.
After noting the revelations in the report, Greenidge said that the report highlights in no uncertain terms, the tendency of former President Jagdeo and the government he still has a hold on, to resort to abuses of state power when it is faced with any perceived roadblock.
“I applaud the Ombudsman for what he has done. I have no doubt that he has, at least, heard of the instances where the government would engage in the abuse of its power when anyone is found not conforming to its way of rule. Once you don’t obey, the government is just out to destroy you. But the nation knows all too well how the government deals with persons who are fearless in exposing corruption. One must now watch carefully as to how the government will try to deal with Ombudsman Moore, by affecting his access to information, funds or removing him. In the meantime, we must encourage the Ombudsman to continue to act independently and professionally,” Greenidge asserted.
Shadow Minister of Public Works, Harmon, also expressed his happiness and satisfaction that after so many years of being without an Ombudsman, one is in place and the truth is “coming to the light.”
Harmon said that Moore’s report is an important step in exposing the fault lines in the governance structure. He also sought to congratulate Moore for his fearless reporting on the “malicious crime”.
He said too, that the evidence in the explosive document underscores the “vindictive nature of Jagdeo and the PPP regime.”
The APNU Parliamentarian said that he hopes that the Ombudsman is not prevented access to funds to perform his functions. Harmon however noted that the government is not going to positively respond to the report which basically “exposes the cruelty that lies deep in the belly of the PPP beast.”
The Ombudsman’s report took a look at the role that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Shalimar Ali-Hack, and her husband, Sheik-ul-Hack, played in the matter.
The report also questioned the police over missing key exhibits and failure to follow-up obvious questions. The Ombudsman cited in the report that he indeed has jurisdiction to examine such a matter and as such, asked that the case be re-opened and re-examined by the Director of Public Prosecutions “with a fresh mind.”
Kaieteur News Publisher, Glenn Lall in an invited comment on the matter said that should the Ombudsman be hindered in any, even if it is financially, the decent-minded citizens of the business community would band together to fully support him. He disclosed that he is also willing and prepared to financially assist the Ombudsman, should it get to that stage, so that transparency and accountability can be ensured.
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