The Commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) has called in the police to conduct a formal investigation into the acquisition of several documents noted to be property of the Commission, which are in the possession of Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.
During a press conference last Thursday, Jagdeo attempted to implicate several persons, whom he claimed were affiliated with government, in what he presented to the press as a massive doling out of thousands of acres of State lands in the six months after the No Confidence Vote.
Commissioner of GLSC, Trevor Benn, held a press conference yesterday, during which he refuted several of the accusations Jagdeo made.
What is striking to the Commissioner is the fact that Jagdeo conducted his presentation using several documents which are the Commission’s property.
According to Benn, there is no record at the GLSC that those documents were requested or paid for.
“What is irresponsible and reprehensible is when these personalities corrupt our staff to seek to gain political advantage.”
Benn told reporters that when he assumed leadership of the Commission, several attempts were made to increase the quality of service provided by the body, and to mitigate the likelihood of corruption.
“At the Commission, we exercise zero tolerance for corruption and our record speaks for itself. However, unfounded allegations of corruption continue to be levelled against me. I challenge anyone to come forward with evidence that would implicate me in any corrupt activity.”
While he said he can vouch that he is not corrupt, he said that he could not vouch for his staff.
But he said that the efforts by the Commission are being undermined by irresponsible persons in public office.
“Evidence of the Commission’s property being on display at the press conference yesterday without any records in the commission to show payment was made for those properties, is clear evidence of how our staff is being corrupted,” Benn said.
Asked whether he considers the documents stolen, “If you receive property that you didn’t earn or was not formally given to you, how do you describe that? I don’t know how else you describe that other than stolen. We have a system here [that] if you want to have copies of documents, that you can come and get it.”
He introduced the team of the GLSC to reporters yesterday. They were all seated, throughout the press conference.
“None of my officers who [are] seated here can attest to any requests being made to us,” Benn stated.
“And this is why I’m saying there are attempts being made to corrupt our staff.”
“It is no secret that we are operating in a very hostile environment. Some of our staff members are known to be in collusion with powerful forces to take control of the land and we are not going to allow it to happen, at least, not under my watch.”
The Commissioner called on the police to inquire about how the documents got into Jagdeo’s possession.
“It is against our HR Policy for staff members to be divulging information that they may come into contact with during work. Staff members who are found to be in breach of this policy will be condignly dealt with.”
He added that the Commission will be guided by the findings and the actions of the police.
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