Head of the State Asset Recovery Unit (SARU), Dr. Clive Thomas, on noted that the agency cannot initiate any investigations without a formal request in keeping with the SARA Act 2017. His comments came in light of a response from Opposition MP, Gail Texeira noting that the PPP will not participate in a “symbolic” walk organized by that agency. In her letter to Dr. Thomas, Texeira noted that SARA failed to investgate many corrupt practices by the current Government and outlined same.
Thomas noted via a letter that “but contrary to popular political belief, SARA does not and cannot initiate investigations without first receiving a complaint such as yours, in keeping with international best practices processes designed to ensure transparency, fairness and legal appropriateness. For example, SARA has seen numerous newspapers reports about a Permanent Secretary under your government who had $20 plus billion passing through his bank accounts. SARA has not investigated him because it is a criminal case.”
The response continued, “SARA does not and cannot pursue criminal cases or put individuals in jail. This is the purview of SOCU, the DPP, and the Guyana Police Force. SARA’s mandate is to recover State assets through civil recovery and not through criminal recovery. In many cases, some of which are mentioned in your letter, SARA has to await criminal proceedings which take precedence, before engaging in civil recovery, making the life cycle of civil recovery delayed.”