Jun 27, 2017 News
Two of Guyana’s top investigators are set to travel early this week to Florida to talk to Winston Brassington, a former executive of the former administration whose role in a number of state deals has come under the microscope.
Well-placed sources said yesterday that head of the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU), Aubrey Retemyer, along with Assistant Commissioner of Police, Sydney James, of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), will be on the trip.
Brassington, former head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and its sister arm, the Privatisation Unit, is said to be living in Florida, where he operates a pallet company.
Brassington reportedly left the country in late 2016, months after the Coalition Government took office. During his time in the aforementioned designations, the official oversaw a number of transactions and deals, worth billions of dollars, that are now the subject of investigations.
After taking office, the administration initiated several forensic audits including into the operations of NICIL/PU.
The audits included transactions into the Pradoville Two sale of lands to former government officials and their relatives; the construction of a High Street building at a cost of several hundreds of millions of dollars; the sale of two Duke Street properties to businessman, Gerry Gouveia, among others.
Investigators would also want to talk to Brassington about billions of dollars in dividends from state companies that NICIL collected and proceeds from the sale of scores of state properties.
It was unclear yesterday whether the officials would be examining moves to have Brassington returned to Guyana.
The former NICIL official, who came under scrutiny for overseeing the building of the Berbice Bridge and the Marriott Hotel, is said to be a permanent resident of the US, and not a citizen.
SOCU has also been wanting to talk to former Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh, who was a board member of NICIL, and who would have been privy to the transactions, as many of them would have had to also been approved by Cabinet, which the minister had been part of.
Singh is said to be working in the US- either Washington or New York, in a major financial institution.
It was unclear yesterday whether the two investigators will be also attempting to speak to the former minister.
The administration, while in Opposition, had insisted that billions of dollars were siphoned off and not accounted for, because of the deals, with the country’s best interests not taken care of.
Several former government ministers and officials and even ex-President Bharrat Jagdeo and Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon, have been hauled in for questioning by SOCU.
The Opposition has denied wrongdoing and has accused the administration of being on a campaign of witch-hunting.
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