Jul 07, 2016 News
A surprise shakeup last week at the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) which saw three top officials sacked is raising serious questions whether procedures were breached in the process.
The sackings will place even more pressure on Chairman of GRA’s Governing Board, Rawle Lucas, who is facing fire at the entity for a number of recent decisions.
On Monday, June 27 at GRA’s Camp Street headquarters, Lucas announced that while the search was on for a new Commissioner-General, a number of changes have been made.
Customs Head, Jameel Baksh, and Head of the Human Resources Division, Archana Joshi, were all “relieved” of their duties.
Lucas’ reasons for the sacking were that GRA was unsatisfied with the level of revenue collections.
The sacking all came on the heels of a damning report of a Customs racket at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport from where the entire team of staffers was transferred.
The report, seen by Kaieteur News, said that the manager was promoted even while he was on administrative leave. At issue was the airport bribery racket that was busted in February after a tip-off.
During the June 27 press conference, Lucas failed to announce that another firing had taken place the same day –June 27, 2016. The lead investigator of the Customs airport racket, Nityanand Narootandeo, had his services terminated suddenly without any warning or hearing. No reasons were given in his letter.
In all three letters of termination the Human Resources Management Division of GRA made it clear that it was a decision of the Governing Board of Directors.
However, multiple sources at GRA who expressed shock at the sackings insisted that there were no Board meetings on the decisions to fire the three officials.
One official said that a Board meeting was indeed held a few days before but it discussed the appointment of Hema Khan as Deputy Commissioner-General. Also discussed was the hiring of a new Commissioner-General.
So who made the decision to fire those officials? GRA has remained silent.
According to the letter Jameel Baksh received, it was for him to proceed on his pre-retirement leave.
But at the press conference held the same day—June 27—Lucas announced that Baksh was relieved of his duties, suggesting that his services were terminated.
He also said Joshi’s termination was for poor performance. He had never mentioned Narootandeo’s dismissal at his press conference.
When questioned about Narootandeo’s dismissal, Lucas said he was unaware of the reason.
A letter that came in to Kaieteur News recently raising questions about Lucas, was sent to him for a response.
However, Lucas said he preferred to offer a response when and if Kaieteur News decided to publish it.
Another set of questions sent to him earlier this week by the newspaper querying Lucas’ reference to the Board meeting, the members who attended and when it was held to ascertain who would have made the decisions to sack the staffers, did not see any response from the Chairman.
What is known is that someone decided that Fitzroy Corlette, Head of Projects, will now take over as the person in charge of GRA’s critical investigative arm, the Law Enforcement and Investigation Division (LEID).
Someone, other than the Board, also took a decision to promote Lancelot Wills, a Trade Lawyer at GRA, to now head the all important Customs portfolio. He would have been promoted several levels to that position which would earn him almost $750,000 per month.
The Chairman did disclose that the current Commissioner-General (Ag), Ingrid Griffith, had opted to proceed on leave and on her return would head the GRA’s Corporate Services Division.
She is still on the job.
GRA has been under fire in recent years for its management with the David Granger administration promising last year to clean house.
However, there have been growing complaints of arbitrary and unilateral decisions being taken. A number of staffers have been sacked and others transferred suddenly.
Some have been hired and others promoted.
Aug 09, 2022USA Tri State tour to Guyana By Sean Devers Kaieteur News – In ideal conditions for cricket under blue skies, the Tri State Youth Development of the USA cruised to a second victory from as many...
Kaieteur News – The PNC/R may have done more than simply shot itself in the foot. It may have inflicted a grievous... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – In the first part of this commentary, the conclusion was reached that the great... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]