Charges against Gov’t officials were not “tit for tat”, a long time coming- Jagdeo

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… says PPP has intentions to have several other Gov’t officials charged

By Ramona Luthi

The charges laid against two Government officials on Thursday morning by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) are not acts of “tit for tat” as they were a long time coming.

Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

This is according to Leader of the Opposition, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday afternoon during a press conference with media operatives at his Church Street, Georgetown office.

Jagdeo reminded the media that his party has in the past made disclosures of their intentions to press charges against the APNU-AFC Administration for their “many acts of corruption”.

“…Our members of Parliament have moved to the Court to file private criminal charges against some of the Government Officials responsible for some egregious breaches of our procurement law and involved in acts that we believe are totally corrupt…. Yes these charges would have come up at some point in time. I’ve been talking about this, about private criminal charges for a while now,” he recounted.

The former President added however, that the cases might have been filed “differently” in that circumstance.

“They would have come up but maybe slightly differently because what they [Government] did is they defined what is ‘misconduct in public office’ and so these [breaches by Ministers] are one million times more egregious,” he asserted.

On April 12, 2018, the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) instituted legal proceedings against Former Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Winston Brassington for what it says is “misconduct in public office: contrary to common law” as it pertains to the sale of three plots of state land during the PPP’s tenure.

However, Jagdeo asserted that if Government charges hold merit, then the case filed by the PPP will also hold that same weight.

“… so if what Ashni Singh and Brassington did, which is follow a Cabinet instruction, is misconducting in a public office…They followed a Cabinet instruction, and did this…then these [Ministers’ breaches] are a million times worse because they result in large amounts of money leaving our treasury and going into private people’s pockets, then this has to be misconduct in public office if those are the standards now… If these issues, the cases that we are filing don’t amount to misconduct in public office, nothing can in this country and so we will test it in the courts now,” he contended.

He further chastised the incumbent Administration for what he said is their apparent lack of interest in battling corruption right beneath their noses while being ready and willing to preach about same abroad.

“We have been for ages, trying to get redress on these matters but it seems as though this Government is content to go to the Summit of Americas and talk about what they’re doing on corruption, to go the Commonwealth to talk about what they’re doing for corruption, to get some advisors to come and lecture the police, but on these matters where they have real instances of corruption, they’re unwilling to take any action, in spite of the …calls by civil society and the Opposition for the Government to respond to them,” he said.

Probed as to whether he has considered that the coalition Administration will retaliate and lay charges against him, Jagdeo said “…they will do what they have to do. I made it clear. You go ahead and you throw the worst at us because that is the expectation because they approached this politically from the beginning.”

Moreover, he added that the PPP has intentions to have several other Government officials charged.

“This is not the end, we’re not stopping at these two charges, they’re several others who will be charged.”

Earlier today, PPP MPs, Vickram Bharrat and Bishop Juan Edghill took to the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court with their Attorney, Anil Nandlall to file private criminal proceedings against Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence and former Minister of Public Health, George Norton, with regards to the sole sourcing of drugs and other pharmaceuticals for the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation from privately owned, Ansa McAll Trading Limited and the rental of a house in Sussex Street, Albouystown, Georgetown to be utilized as a drug bond at a cost of $12M monthly, respectively.

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