The State Asset Recovery Agency’s (SARAs) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Aubrey Retmyer was placed in the hot seat on Monday, when he was forced to defend the agency’s perceived bias with him being affiliated with the People’s National Congress (PNC).
The PNC is the main political party within the APNU coalition Government which is seeking to fulfill a campaign promise of having members of the previous Administration face charges and jail time for what they had said was widespread corruption.
Asked about this perceived bias on the side-lines of a training seminar, Retmyer said ” I believe that I can have a preference for a political party but I can be unbiased in a professional sense and I don’t think that is too much to ask a Guyanese, even if you are member or a follower of a particular party, but to operate professionally. It’s when you don’t operate professionally and I have said that before that I have no qualms about dealing with the people that the evidence leads.”
He also posited that “we are not going after people because of their party allegiances. We are going after them because the evidence leads in that direction, that they stole or misappropriated Government property and assets and therefore we deal with them.”
However, when asked whether SARA has targeted anyone from the current Administration Retmyer said no.
He said further that “I remember the PPP in replying to an invitation in which we had, when we asked them to participate in the anti-corruption walk, they did raise some questions but we just don’t go after cases because people…there is a procedure that we use to go after cases and we will stick to that procedure.”
Moreover, the SARA CEO explained that “If we have evidence or information that requires, at least to, us investigating something current we will do it.”
In July, SARA had invited Opposition leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo to a symbolic anti-corruption walk.
The opposition had declined this invitation through a letter from Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, citing several current cases of perceived corruption under the incumbent Administration where SARA had failed to investigate.
Moreover, in Teixeira’s response to SARA’s invitation, it was outlined that the political Opposition would not participate in such a walk “while members and other public officials of successive PPP/C governments have been discriminated against, victimized, and targeted by a state-sponsored witch-hunt on frivolous, manufactured charges.”