Guyana Opposition MPs to pursue jailing corrupt PPP officials
“It was barefaced thieving,”– Ramjattan
The Alliance for Change (AFC) along with the other Parliamentary Opposition party, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) will be using its combined majority in the National Assembly to seek to push for the investigation, prosecution and subsequent incarceration of Public and Government officials found to have been guilty of corrupt practices and financial irregularities.
AFC Presidential Khemraj Ramjattan said that during the political campaign that his party had committed itself to having corrupt Government officials be held accountable. He said his party will work with APNU to push for some of the Parliamentary Standing Committees to investigate the actions of some of the Public and Government officials.
Ramjattan said that they will be using bodies such as the Economic Services Committee and the Public Accounts Committee among others where they can determine if enough evidence exists to have these persons prosecuted and should the Director of Public Prosecution Shalimar Ali-Hack fail to act in the face of evidence then private action will be taken against her as well.
Ramjattan said that one of the many issues that the parliamentary opposition would want to re-open is a proper investigation into the Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO Guyana) fallout.
Ramjattan is on record and was also upbraided by the Parliamentary Committee which was tasked with investigating the fallout but was later rendered useless according to him as they were only watered down to reading newspaper headlines of the fallout.
Ramjattan was upbraided by the then Committee Chairperson for speaking to the media at the time for venting his frustration at the role to which the committee was downgraded.
He said that there will also be an investigation into the transfer of the assets of Sanata Complex, Ruimveldt, to the present owners. Many of the actions leading to the transfer of the assets to Queens Atlantic International Inc. (QAII) are not clear.
Ramjattan spoke, too, of the matter involving the re-appointed Minister of Housing and Water Irfaan Ali against whom a prima facie case was made out for contempt of Parliament in relation to misleading the National Assembly on a $4B allocation.
That matter was never heard and according to Ramjattan died a slow death as the Ninth Parliament was dissolved thereby making it next to impossible to have the matter heard again.
Ramjattan posited that the parliamentarians in the opposition benches must also use their majority in the House to impress upon the populace that importance of and nexus between their impoverished state and its direct link to corruption.
He said that it is of paramount importance that the populace and electorate at large understand the link between their poverty and corruption.
Ramjattan was also adamant that they will be taking the Director of Public Prosecution Shalimar Ali-Hack to task for not undertaking criminal proceedings against public officials where there is enough evidence.
On Friday last the world observed World Anti-Corruption Day and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had advocated for the corrupt officials to be shamed. Ramjattan is adamant that they should be jailed.
During the Anti-Corruption seminar the Senior Coordinator of Transparency International, Zoe Reiter, had admonished that anti-corruption laws are meaningless if there is no enforcement.
Reiter when she made the pronouncement was at the time responding to Government Adviser Gail Teixeira, who was seeking clarification as to why some of the countries in the Region scored better than Guyana on the 2011 World Corruption Perception Index.
Guyana ranked 134 out of 183 countries analysed in the world by Transparency International and scored 2.5 out of 10 with zero being the worst.
Corruption continues to plague too many countries around the world, according to Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index on December 1.
“It shows some governments failing to protect citizens from corruption, be it abuse of public resources, bribery or secretive decision-making.”
Transparency International warned that protests around the world, often fuelled by corruption and economic instability, clearly show citizens feel their leaders and public institutions are neither transparent nor accountable enough.
“This year we have seen corruption on protestors’ banners be they rich or poor. Whether in a Europe hit by debt crisis or an Arab world starting a new political era, leaders must heed the demands for better government,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International.
Reiter in her recent presentation did caution that making significant inroads in the fight against corruption will take time and advised that corruption is a non-partisan problem that will require non-partisan solutions.
She cautioned, also, that corruption was at the root of all of the major upheavals across the world in 2011.
Reiter added, “Government cannot tackle corruption with symbolic gestures.”