Sep 08, 2016 News
Following reports that Guyana has appointed a convicted felon as Ambassador to Kuwait, Minister of
Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge has said an investigation has been launched to ascertain the accuracy of the information.
Minister Greenidge was at the time, responding to questions on the appointment of Dr Shamir Ally, Guyana’s current Ambassador to Kuwait.
Kaieteur News had reported that Ally was convicted on March 4, 2003 by United States District Court Judge, Michael M. Baylson, for dissemination of false financial information by Acrodyne Communications, Inc. (“Acrodyne”) in press releases and Commission filings in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
The conviction was specifically for violations of the antifraud and recordkeeping provisions in keeping with the United States Securities regulations. Ally, who was charged jointly with A. Robert Mancuso and Ronald R. Lanchoney, was fined US$10,000. His co-conspirators were fined US$50,000 and US$10,000 respectively.
After the news broke, there was some amount of speculation that Minister Greenidge either did not do thorough background checks on his appointees to ambassadorial positions, or he was reckless with his appointments.
Minister Greenidge has since debunked such theories. In a brief interview with Kaieteur News, the Minister underscored that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would have carefully “vetted’ all persons who were considered for ambassadorial positions.
“We would have exercised due diligence, but these processes are never perfect,” Greenidge added. He promised nonetheless that the Ministry would launch an investigation into the matter. According to Minister Greenidge, Ambassadors are taken from two groups of officials – those in the Foreign Service and those that are not from the Foreign Service.
He said that Ally was not from the Foreign Service. Greenidge explained that as it is with other territories, there are certain criteria that must be satisfied before persons are appointed for such positions.
Minister Greenidge said that for example, the appointee must possess the special skill needed for the intended territory such as a language skill and that person must be a trusted individual, possessing the adequate repertoire with the Head of State of their home country.
Questioned further about the appointment process, Minister Greenidge said that Dr. Ally is suitably qualified for the position.
In addition to his involvement in a number of local organizations, Greenidge said that Ally has had been extensively involved with the nation’s Middle Eastern counterparts at religious and academic levels
“So, one needs to look at what specifically, are the misdemeanours. We had no idea about this and we will now look at it. But in terms of qualifications and appropriateness of skills he is suitable.”
Greenidge said however, “We are going to look into it, investigate and decide what action it warrants. Based on our findings, we will also be asking Mr. Ally some questions as well.”
He noted that it would not be enough for the Ministry to rely and take action based on what is printed in a newspaper article.
According to information obtained by Kaieteur News, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Mancuso (Acrodyne’s former CEO and president), Lanchoney (Acrodyne’s former Chief Financial Officer), and Ally (Acrodyne’s former controller) were aware of numerous and significant problems with Acrodyne’s accounting controls, but failed to assure that Acrodyne’s financial transactions were accurately recorded.
The Commission claimed that, as a result of the actions of Mancuso, Lanchoney and Ally, Acrodyne engaged in inaccurate and improper cost accounting and revenue recognition.
The Commission also alleged that, starting in the second quarter of 1999 and continuing through the first quarter of 2000, Ally directed that unsupported journal entries be made to the cost of sales and inventory accounts to bring Acrodyne’s financial statements in line with the gross margin percentage he had estimated for the period.
The Commission claimed that Mancuso approved these fraudulent adjustments for the first quarter of 2000. Given the conviction, Ally cannot vote in the United States.
Earlier this year, Ally was also named as Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest).
In this age of advanced technology, there are legitimate means of ascertaining if a person has a criminal background. For example, Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) website is a source of accessing criminal and civil court history in the United States. PACER service provides on-line access to U.S. Appellate, District, and Bankruptcy court records and documents nationwide.
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