By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
As former President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, says he does not have to pay taxes on any of his income. He told a press conference hosted at his Church Street Office yesterday that he has not been paying taxes on the rents collected from his tenants because former presidents are not required to pay taxes.
However, this contention is not supported by law. The law allows the President a tax free pension package.
On Sunday, this newspaper highlighted that Jagdeo has rented out the Queenstown property that was once home to the Jagdeo Foundation and that one of those clients is involved in the oil and gas business.
The Lot 300 New Garden Street, Queenstown property was acquired in December 2013 by Jagdeo, two years after he ended his constitutional two terms in office.
According to the Official Gazette, dated December 7, 2013, Jagdeo acquired the double lot from Brian James, a businessman who has interests in Auto Supplies.
The building was renovated and the Bharrat Jagdeo Foundation was housed there.
The Consulate for Switzerland is housed in the building now. The Consul General is Dean Jackson. In recent days, it was announced that another business, Co-work Guyana, has launched a number of dedicated, private office space.
Jackson, the Honorary Consul, is also Chief Operating Officer and Partner of Mayson Blackhouse.
Yesterday, Jagdeo said that he has grown accustomed to Kaieteur News carping on his accumulated wealth.
He said that he never rented the building to any oil firm. He rented to Jackson.
Also, Jagdeo said that his property should not be a matter of contention since it is one that has been declared to the Integrity Commission.
He said, “I have been president for several years; I earned my salary, it is all accounted for. I worked after my Presidency. They ask me how I afford these things, it is all in my Integrity Commission declaration but they would never ask APNU people this, you have several Ministers building properties.”
He continued, “Ministers now building not one but four properties. The President (David Granger) did not sell his house; he gave it up but then he renovated a house on the East Bank just after one year in office and that is a massive property too. What about the duplicity there?
“But with KN, you can never win because this is the same place that said I have mansion in Miami, that I have airlines and that I own Marriott.”
Jagdeo continued, “It’s nothing new. That is the concern even after I am out of office, that’s their focus.”
He said that it is all an effort to “side track us from the large scale corruption taking place now.”
Jagdeo then said, in response to a question by Kaieteur News, that he does not pay tax on the rent because ex presidents are not required to do so. The question was specifically asked, does this apply to all income? Jagdeo responded, “Yes.”
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