Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan on Tuesday defended what is considered to be an illegal occupancy of the position of Director of the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) by Professor Clive Thomas.
“He is there lawfully…he has been there for a couple of years now and all of a sudden people feel that he’s illegal? Apparently, this illegal viral is all over the place,” he said when asked to comment on the situation.
Professor Thomas was Head of the State Assets Recovery Unit – which was the name of the organisation when it was operating without a legislative framework.
However, in 2017, the requisite legislation was passed, prompting SARU to be renamed SARA.
The SARA Act stipulates that “Within a period of not more than four months from the date of commencement of this Act, the Parliamentary Committee on appointments on the notification by the Minister shall recommend to the National Assembly a person to be appointed as Director of the SARA”.
However, this was never done and Professor Thomas has remained as Head of SARA – which goes against the law.
Notably, Professor Thomas was politically appointed to that post and this raises concern about the credibility and integrity of the work of that agency which is empowered to seize citizens’ assets.
In fact, according to the law, the Head of SARA will be answerable to no one.
One of the major concerns of stakeholders was that of SARA’s Head being bestowed with a seemingly unlimited amount of power, practically second to the President’s.
SARA recently filed lawsuits against several persons including former President Bharrat Jagdeo in relation to the sale of lands at Sparendaam, popularly known as “Pradoville 2”.
But Jagdeo said he is unbothered by this action since he believes it is just politics at play.