Sunday, January 18, 2009

There is already an Integrity Commission in place - Donald Ramotar

Kaieteur News news item, Sunday 18 January 2009

There is already an Integrity Commission in place - Donald Ramotar
January 18, 2009 | By knews |

...but AFC queries authenticity of the reports submitted

General Secretary of the People's Progressive Party, Donald Ramotar, in
responding to a call by the People's National Congress Reform to have a
forensic audit conducted into Government officials, has said that there is
already an Integrity Commission in place to deal with such matters implied
by the PNCR.
He noted that this commission calls for all Members of Parliament of declare
their assets.
Alliance for Change Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan, when contacted for a
comment insisted that there must be forensic audits from the President,
Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Advisors, Regional Chairmen right down the
line of Government officials. He also sought to debunk Ramotar's comment
that the Integrity Commission was already doing so.

PPP/C General Secretary Donald Ramotar
"Absolutely not!" said Ramjattan, who pointed out that there are only
declarations made to that Commission.
He added also that the declarations may very well be highly inaccurate and
deceptive, "How do we know that it is not a bundle of lies?"
According to Ramjattan, the declarations must suffer scrutiny too. Some
public officials also ignore the Integrity Commission with impunity.
"Forensic audits of what these officials declare must be carried
out...especially those of the upper echelons of Government."
Ramjattan said that the conduct of Government officials must be exemplary.
"They must live the examined life especially in their financial
affairs...The investigation ought to include why some, like Minister Robert
Persaud, would want to sell his house to go and live in state property free
of charge," he argued.
"Let them also go through polygraph tests when the circumstance so demands."
Vision Guyana Chairman, Peter Ramsaroop, who has been a staunch advocate
against government corruption, said that he supports the call for expanding
the forensic audit to government officials.
"Too many of them have gained significant assets that are not accounted
The PNCR on Friday issued a statement calling for the forensic audit to
include senior Government officials and corrupt business people.
According to the party, it has noted that the Auditor-General has confirmed
that a forensic audit into the assets of employees of the Customs and Trade
Administration (CTA) has been authorised, and most Guyanese would regard
this as an important step in the exercise in rooting out corruption from
that department.
"However, the PNCR believes that this tool would be useful in tracking down
the now endemic corruption in all areas of the society."
It added that the Auditor-General and the Jagdeo Administration should call
upon those persons and entities, including those who have acquired assets
which bare no relationship to their incomes and earnings, to submit to
similar forensic audits.
Head of State, President Bharrat Jagdeo, recently called for investigations
into the assets of corrupt Customs officers.
He said that if people were not able to properly account "for their assets,
then they have a lot to answer for".
The President was insistent that the assets analysis component of the
investigation be fulfilled.
He pointed to the fact that if the capability was not available locally, the
audit office should seek external assistance and Government would foot the
Several Customs officers and other employees of the Guyana Revenue Authority
were sent on administrative leave early last year. Five of the employees who
were sent on leave were dismissed during the investigations ordered by
President Bharrat Jagdeo.

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