Months after it was discovered that several Commonwealth Law Books had gone missing from the Attorney General’s Chambers, Legal Affairs Minister and AG Basil Williams on Thursday disclosed that former President Donald Ramotar has admitted to giving the books to former AG Anil Nandlall for his personal use.
Back in November, the Permanent Secretary of the Legal Affairs Ministry Indira Ananjit was sent on 52 days’ leave after the law books, valued some $2.5 million, were found missing. This caused an audit to be launched by the Auditor General’s office to locate the books.
On Thursday, the Attorney General said that after several months, Auditor General Deodat Sharma indicated that Ramotar wrote him saying that the Permanent Secretary was not culpable or blameworthy for the books reportedly gone “missing”, since there was an agreement with Nandlall for the Ministry to buy the books for his (Nandlall’s) personal use.
“(But) we don’t accept the excuse given by the Auditor General that former President Ramotar could have a private agreement with the former Attorney General to spend the State’s money for their own personal benefit,” the Attorney General stated.
However, when contacted on the matter, Nandlall explained that when he was appointed Attorney General, he requested as part of his contract of service for the Government of Guyana to stand the expense for his subscriptions for the Commonwealth Law Books.
“I was subscribing to this particular law report over a decade before my appointment as Attorney General. When I was offered the position, one of the conditions I asked for is for the Government of Guyana to continue to pay the subscription of these books, because I did not want to break the subscription,” Nandlall pointed out.
Insisting that nothing was abnormal about the practice, the former AG argued that it was done by other Government Ministries such as Finance and Health.
Asked why he did not continue to pay for his own subscriptions instead of depending on State resources, Nandlall asserted that it was somewhat an entitlement just as other benefits he received from the State.
“Why didn’t I pay for my light bill? Why didn’t I pay for my own phone bill? Because they are all a part of my conditions of service,” he responded.
Meanwhile, as it relates to the fate of Ananjit, Minister Williams explained that since Government did not accept the explanations proffered for the “missing” law books, then the PS will have to remain on leave since she authorised the purchase of the books. Ananjit has been serving at the Legal Affairs Ministry since July 2012.