Though there are a number of recommendations before Cabinet for charges to be laid against various individuals and entities, government wants to ensure they have “concrete evidence” before going to the Courts.
President David Granger
Junior Finance Minister Jaipaul Sharma
Commenting on these recommendations, President David Granger on his “Public Interest” TV programme explained that there is not sufficient evidence to take the culpable parties to Court.
“Well, we need to have evidence before the case goes to Court… maybe the audit might have discovered that there might have been deficiencies and malpractice but that itself is not evidence which is necessarily accepted in Court,” he stated.
Granger said once Cabinet has considered the reports, the matter would then be transferred into “the hands of the laws” to make recommendations.
“The Cabinet does not direct the Courts… once we have recommendations from the law officers that there are cases to answer, that is the course we’ll follow… we don’t tell the Courts what to do,” Granger further pointed out.
The President maintained that the main focus is to correct or to prevent any malpractice from recurring.
“It’s not a witch hunt; and again, if persons have committed offences, we want to see them tried, we want to see justice done. But in so doing, we would like to ensure that the cases are strong enough to bring about convictions,” he posited.
Junior Finance Minister and coordinator of the State Forensic Audits Jaipaul Sharma had told Guyana Times that he made several recommendations for further police investigations and for criminal charges to be filed in relation to the forensic audit reports into the various state entities but Cabinet is delaying on making a decision.
Meanwhile, Sharma during his Budget 2016 presentation indicated that the audit findings showed that the former administration in many instances violated the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act and consequently expressed his opinion that persons be charged for political corruption and acts of fraud.
He had also stated that there appears to be sufficient evidence that implicates certain persons in premeditated plans to engage in corruption.
In May 2015, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) government launched about 45 audits into various State Agencies across the country.
Others were gradually initiated, making the total number of audits 50.
So far, only four of the 50 audits have been released – Marriott Hotel, National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), Carifesta X 2008 and the acquisition of the water cannon by then Home Affairs Ministry.
Government has since promised to release the other reports soon.