Rawle Lucas, MA, CPA Chairman of the Governing Board of the Guyana Revenue Authority has come out swinging at the Private Sector Commission for what he described as false claims.
In a release issued yesterday Lucas noted that the Private Sector Commission (PSC) on Thursday 7 January 2016 accused the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) of searching the home of the embattled Commissioner General Khurshid Sattaur.
“It is important to emphasize that the GRA did not search or seize any property as maliciously claimed by the Private Sector Commission,” Lucas said.
While Lucas agreed that the protection of human rights is important, he noted, “That concern did not apply to the case where GRA officials went to the home of Mr. Sattaur by mutual agreement on December 31, 2015 to retrieve the property of the Government of Guyana and to ensure that sensitive taxpayers’ data was properly secured.”
Further, Lucas, in offering clarification, declared that the most alarming feature of the press release by the PSC is the embellishment of erroneous information with the allegation that a search and seizure of Mr. Sattaur’s home occurred and these untrue acts took place without any regards for Mr. Sattaur’s rights.
“The troubling feature of that erroneous claim is that the PSC seems to be seeking to drive fear and mistrust of GRA into the minds of taxpayers; the very things that the new Governing Board is seeking to heal in its relationship with taxpayers,” Lucas stated.
The Private Sector Commission on Friday joined a number of other institutions in criticizing the visit to Sattaur’s home.
The Commission had stated that it is both perturbed and concerned at this treatment of a very senior official who has not been formally accused of any wrongdoing. “To the best of our knowledge, Mr. Sattaur is on leave from the entity pending the results of an inquiry. He has not been asked to resign and as such remains both the de jure and de facto Head of the GRA.”
The PSC also noted that in the circumstances, if his electronic communication devices were required for purposes of the investigation, then the proper procedure would have entailed a request to Sattaur to hand these over to the Board.
“We understand that the invasion of Mr. Sattaur’s home was not conducted by the National Police armed with a warrant for search and seizure of items from his home. This is a violation of his human rights. It was reported that the officers who went to Mr. Sattaur’s home were officers of the Guyana Revenue Authority and we do not believe that they are or were legally authorized to do so.”
PSC said that the searching of homes of officials of entities under investigation seems to have become common practice and, “We call upon President Granger to rein in what appears, from all accounts in the public domain, to be a show of excessive enthusiasm on the part of some persons.”
But according to the GRA Board Chairman Lucas, that the PSC would take time to carefully construct unsubstantiated statements without seeking to find out the position of the GRA does not speak well for its own integrity and comes across as a deliberate attempt to malign and frustrate an organization that is trying to turn its tarnished image around.
The Chairman of the Governing Board of the Guyana Revenue Authority posited, “PSC ought to be careful since continued distortion of facts would make it difficult for those who have to deal with it to rely on anything that it has to say.”
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