SARA’s Deputy Director ‘squatting on the job,’ says Opposition Leader

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Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo on Wednesday said the he was unclear whether he should refer to Aubrey Heath-Retemyer as the Deputy Director of the State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA) as he may very well be “squatting on the job”.

Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

Jagdeo made this remark during his weekly press briefing when he was posed with a question in relation to the comments Heath-Retemyer made about the Judiciary that saw him (Heath-Retemyer ) receiving considerable flack, most recently from the Guyana Bar Association.

Asserting that the Bar Association was right to call out Heath-Retemyer for seeking to lecture to the Judiciary how it should do its work, Jagdeo posited that his presence and the presence of his Director, Professor Clive Thomas at the helm of SARA is now questionable.

The Opposition Leader was referring to the comments made by his party comrade, former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, who had last week highlighted that both men were unlawfully occupying their offices.

(L) SARA’s Director Professor Clive Thomas and Deputy Aubrey Heath-Retemeyer

He pointed out that the SARA Act provides very clearly that the Director and Deputy Director of the Agency shall be appointed through a parliamentary process. “Since that Act came into force, that process was never activated. A transition provision in the Act allowed the Director who operated in the Agency before the Act came into force, to continue to act in that office for a limited period. However, that period has long expired. Neither was appointed by the National Assembly process mandated by the Act. Therefore, Mr Retemyer and Dr Thomas are unlawfully holding offices and are receiving public monies as remuneration,” Nandlall stated while asking why this “crime and unlawful conduct” were not being investigated by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).

Opposition Member of Parliament and former Attorney General Anil Nandlall

Moreover, Nandlall, a successful attorney-at-law by profession, posited that “Section 106 of the Act is a transitionary provision: it provides for the Head of the State Asset Recovery Unit (SARU) to continue to act as the Head of SARA, but for not more than four months after the SARA Act comes into force. The SARA Act, as I indicated, came into force over a year now. Yet, Professor Clive Thomas continues to act as the Director of SARA under this transitionary provision. His continuation in office, therefore, is as illegal as that of the Deputy Director, who can only be appointed by the National Assembly under the Act and who was not.”

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