Apr 23, 2017 News
By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, has said that all ministers of the APNU+AFC government are working to make sure that they can institute the highest levels of scrutiny at the various agencies that they are
The minister said that recent implications of some officials at the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) have highlighted the need for strengthened policies but “we knew that this was something that needed to be done.”
Recently, three of the most senior officials of the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) were sent on administrative leave as the police continue investigations into alleged money laundering activities of gold dealer, Saddiqi ‘Bobby’ Rasul.
Trotman told Kaieteur News, “We are responding to a request from the police for them to conduct an investigation. There have been no findings as yet.”
Asked if he sees the need to now beef up measures of scrutiny for the top brass of agencies falling under his ministry, the Minister answered in the affirmative. He added, “I believe that several ministries, not just mine, are working on make sure that there is more scrutiny. There are problems at all ministries where there are finances.”
The Minister continued, “I think we all have to be vigilant and to tighten our systems. It is an ongoing effort on the part of government ministers to have tight systems in place to minimize or prevent impropriety but in the current case we have been asked to cooperate with an investigation and we are doing so. We are quite interested in the findings of the investigation.
According to a letter dated April 20, 2017, to General Manager, Lisaveta Ramotar, and signed by Minister Trotman, the police requested several staffers be sent on leave to facilitate the investigations.
Ramotar is the daughter of former President, Donald Ramotar.
The investigations are being conducted by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), an arm of the police that has been focusing on financial crimes.
Also to receive letters are Deputy General Manager, Andrea Seelochan, and Legal/Compliance Officer, Suzanne Bullen.
According to the letter to Ramotar, the police have commenced an investigation into allegations of money laundering and suspected involvement of staff members of GGB.
The ministry said it is giving the police its full support and cooperation.
”On April 19, 2017, I received a request from the Guyana Police Force for further investigation to ensue and for several Gold Board officers, including you, to be sent on leave to facilitate the conduct of the investigation,” the letter from the minister said.
”In the circumstance it has therefore been decided to send you on Administrative leave, with immediate effect, to allow the police to complete their investigation. Further, you are expected to continue to cooperate with the investigating ranks in the conduct of the investigation.”
Ramotar was also told that on the completion of the investigation, she will be advised further.
The troubles at the GGB came to the fore earlier this month when news broke that Bartica gold dealer, Saddiqi ‘Bobby’ Rasul, was arrested in a $950M fraud at the Guyana Bank For Trade and Industry.
The alleged fraud saw police later charging Rasul with several counts. He appeared in court and is now on $3M bail.
Former Chief Justice (ag), Ian Chang, is the special prosecutor in this matter.
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