Kaieteur News news item, Tuesday 23 December 2008
Jagdeo's naming bank account is quite interesting - Ramjattan
December 23, 2008
Alliance For Change Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan says that, for the President
to name a bank account he contends contains monies purportedly from the
Wildlife Fund, when the Finance Minister tabled a Treasury Memorandum
indicating that the records could not be located or reconstructed, is a
"quite interesting development". Ramjattan expressed this opinion in an
invited comment yesterday following the adjournment of the National
On Saturday last, President Bharrat Jagdeo, during a press briefing at State
House, had stated that he was unaware of any financial records being
missing, but noted that the money was placed into a non-interest bank
account and he had a problem with that.
He also noted that there was some level of corruption at the Office of the
President (OP), and several persons had to be fired as a result.
Commenting on the missing financial records for the Wildlife bank account
for the period 1998 to 2002, which was at the time operated under the
auspices of OP, President Jagdeo said that he was not au fait with all of
the details of the issue, but he noted that, in one instance, people were
caught taking money and giving permits for the export of animals, "way
beyond what our quota allowed." He added that the money was then placed in a
non-interest account at the Bank of Baroda.
However, the Treasury Memorandum that was recently tabled in the National
Assembly clearly states that the records in relation to the period July 1998
to June 2002 - four years - cannot be located, and all attempts to have them
reconstructed have been futile.
The "Treasury Memorandum" is a written response to the inconsistencies
raised by the Public Accounts Committee for the period 2002 and 2003.
Following the discovery of the missing files, Ramjattan had called for the
implementation of a fraud investigation into the incident, and for persons
found culpable to feel the full brunt of the law.
Chairman of Vision Guyana, Peter Ramsaroop, as well as the People's National
Congress Reform, had also echoed these sentiments.
The disappearance of several hundred million dollars earned from the export
of wildlife is reminiscent of the dolphin scandal that came to light in
In that year, the Board of the Wildlife Management Authority fired its
secretary for authorizing exports of dolphins without proper permits.
It was later learnt that 38 giant anteaters had also been shipped without
These animals sell for upwards of US$10,000 each.
The Opposition PNCR had referred to the situation as a scam, and had said it
would not be fooled by the firing of sacrificial scapegoats.