Granger put on blast for claiming ‘no corruption’ in his Administration
APNU+AFC Coalition Leader, David Granger, was called out by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, on Thursday (November 7, 2019) for his declaration that he has “not found corruption” within his administration. “This is the most corrupt government ever,” Jagdeo stressed, during his weekly news conference.
Last week when asked directly about the reports that have exposed corruption since the APNU+AFC Coalition took office, Granger said, “I have not found corruption.” Last month, Granger when asked the same question, had said, “We need to have ministers and public officials who are incorruptible… the people of Guyana must be satisfied that their ministers are honest. I am against corruption personally I am confident that my government is against corruption.”
Jagdeo, has said that the Coalition’s position on fighting corruption is in question, given the many scandals, a few of which include:
1 . The deposit of US$9,000 into the personal bank account of Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson.
2. The transfer of over $20M of taxpayers’ monies to the children of Minister Simona Broomes. Details on the matter indicate that in 2018, two transfers of US$25,000 each to the daughter of Minister Broomes, the Department of Public Service within the Ministry of the Presidency. In 2019, there was another transfer to Broomes’ daughter worth US$36,450 by the Department of Public Service within the Ministry of the Presidency. Minister Broomes’ son, in 2019, benefited from a fourth transfer of GYD$2.51M from the same Department. The disclosure from your Director General, Joseph Harmon, that the monies represented sums for scholarships raises more questions that remain unanswered.
3. The failure to account for the use of taxpayers’ monies on the multi-million dollar D’Urban Park Project. After months of delay, it is only recently that information has been finally handed to the Audit Office by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure. The 2017 Audit report pointed out that millions spent on the project could not be accounted for.
4. The continued breaches of Guyana’s procurement laws, relative to the feasibility study on a new Demerara River crossing. The Public Procurement Commission has pronounced on the illegal nature of this undertaking. The report said: “The PPC noted that the Minster of Public Infrastructure, by memorandum dated November 18 2016, made a request to the Cabinet for Government seeking consideration and approval to use funds from the Demerara Harbor Bridge Corporation to fund the feasibility study and to commence a contractual engagement with LievenseCSO as of the 1 Jan 2017.” The PPC noted that this request to Cabinet was not forwarded through the NPTA but submitted directly by the Minister of Public Infrastructure. The PPC also noted that Cabinet considered the memorandum submitted by the Minister of Public Infrastructure and in November 2016 approved a total sum of $161,514,420 to be used from the Demerara Harbor Bridge Corporation to cover cost for the feasibility study for a new bridge across the Demerara river.” To date, new information indicates that more than $$161,514,420 was spent – instead it is close to $300 million that was spent.
5. The use of public office by Minister Cathy Hughes to bolter her financial standing and that of her company, Videomega Productions. This was disclosed after the revelation that massive contract of $832,200 for sample work, paid for by the Department of Energy, a department within the Ministry of the Presidency, was given to Minister Hughes’ company. Since then, more information in the public domain, indicates that, in Minister Hughes’ Ministry of Public Telecommunications three contracts were awarded to her company, Videomega Productions: June 4, 2018 – Advertisement of Vacancies – $939,738; June 25, 2018 – Facebook Page – $119,670; and September 21, 2018 – CTU/ITC Roadshow 2018 – $2,291, 128, among several others. SHIFTING FOCUS Meanwhile, the APNU+ AFC Coalition Leader refused to make any other comment in direct response to this question.
Instead, Granger opted to shift the conversation to crime – as he has done before when pressed on the same issue. In shifting the conversation Granger said, “I have conducted many Commissions of Inquiry where people are culpable and the Commissions are always asked to determine blame worthiness. Right now Dr. Rishi Thakur is conducting an inquiry off the coast of Suriname. It would be difficult to find the culprits responsible, but once we find the culprits we will take action.
“…the most important problem we face is security sector reform. You cannot investigate crimes or these allegations if there are elements in law enforcement itself which have been collaborating with the very criminals…you go to war with the troops you have… we inherited a Police Force which has got to be reformed. That process of reform is not complete. It is now taking place.” Jagdeo pointed out that prior to taking office in May 2015, the Coalition boasted and campaigned on “locking up” People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) officials – but time has exposed those comments as nothing more than rhetoric.