“All the police need, sometimes, is probable cause that you have committed a crime and they can arrest and charge you. But in the case of Winston Brassington, NICIL’s CEO, there is more than probable cause for him to be arrested and
charged. There is irrefutable evidence that he has been involved in unconscionable acts of corruption against the state. Yet, we cannot see a single charge being laid against this man.” So said Financial analyst, Raymon Gaskin.
He said that he is concerned that Government may be quibbling or pussyfooting when it comes to ensuring that Brassington “does the time for the crimes he committed.”
Gaskin said that when one takes into consideration the findings of the forensic audit report completed on the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), there is more than sufficient ground for Brassington to be hauled before the court and reprimanded.
The financial analyst said that white collar crimes were rampant under the former administration and Brassington was found in innumerable cases, committing some of the most “grievous and treacherous acts” in that regard.
He said that the coalition government needs to send a strong message that those who stole from the state will not slip under the radar.
“This was their election promise and that is what President David Granger said on several occasions,” added Gaskin.
“You have to send a strong message not only for the people to understand that you mean business but so that your own can understand that the law will be respected and those who fail to do so will be dealt with expeditiously.
In seven months, we have been seeing a number of revelations on the crimes committed by Brassington and his cohorts, one of which includes former Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh. What is causing the hold up with the charges? Government needs to act. Bring the evidence before the court and remand them,” expressed Gaskin.
He then made reference to some of the findings in the NICIL forensic audit report which was prepared by Chartered Accountant, Anand Goolsarran.
“The forensic report shows that Brassington bypassed internationally recognized and credible companies only to engage criminal entities for the construction of the Marriott Hotel. He failed to justify how millions of dollars were spent in the Linden Mining Enterprise and to properly account for their assets.
“He hid $1B in a secret account which he received to aid in the construction of the Marriott Hotel , then he paved the way for NICIL to illegally fund the preparation of the Pradoville Two scheme, misappropriated billions of dollars , and kept $26B from the Consolidated Fund.”
“And that’s just the beginning. Doesn’t that amount to more than probable cause? This is what came out of a forensic audit report which found damning evidence regarding these financial crimes. What more are we waiting to see before he is charged?” questioned Gaskin.
In the report, Goolsarran also recommended that moves be made to institute criminal and/or disciplinary actions against all those within NICIL responsible for the interception of State revenues totaling $26.858 billion in violation of Articles 216 of the Constitution and the related sections of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act (FMA).
He said that disciplinary action is provided for under the following sections of the FMA Act: (a) Section 48 — Misuse of public moneys; (b) Section 49 — Liability for loss of public moneys; and (c) Section 85 — Liability of an official.
Goolsarran also called for the institution of criminal and/or disciplinary actions against all those responsible for violating Article 217 of the Constitution by causing expenditure to be incurred without parliamentary approval.
He said that charges are in order for all those responsible for ignoring National Assembly Resolution No. 32 of December 17, 2012, requiring NICIL to pay over to the Consolidated Fund “all revenues and proceeds from the sale of all State properties, except for those necessary administrative costs for maintaining and running its operations annually.”
The Chartered Accountant called for NICIL to be liquidated and for the appointment of a Receiver to oversee the liquidation process. He said, too, that Government should re-activate the Privatisation Unit as a department of the Ministry of Finance to manage the Government’s residual investments after liquidation proceedings have concluded. In this regard, he noted that the existing staff of NICIL could be transferred to the Ministry of Finance.
Goolsarran also recommended for his report to be forwarded to the State Assets Recovery Unit, with a view to recovering any State assets/properties that might have been improperly and illegally transferred to third parties.
He believes that there should be a further independent audit to examine in detail transactions over the last six years, given that the scope of his report covered the period 2001 to May 2015.
“In addition, considering the hostile, arrogant and demeaning response to my preliminary draft report as well as certain restrictions placed on this audit, it would be desirable for the Executive Director and the Deputy Executive Director to proceed on leave to facilitate the transaction audit,” Goolsarran added.
He said that Government may wish to consider whether it wishes to retain the services of the Executive Director and the Deputy Executive Director in light of the findings and conclusions contained in the report.
Come next week, the forensic audit report is expected to be discussed among Cabinet members.