Vice News report: AFC calls for independent investigation, audit into awarding of contracts

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Vice News reporter, Isobel Yeung (PC: IMDb); and Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

A statement from the Alliance for Change (AFC) follows:

In light of the damning report by Showtime, a US cable news network in awarding procurement contracts, the Alliance For Change (AFC) calls for an immediate independent investigation and audit into the procurement and awarding of contracts in Guyana. 

We further demand that a leading internationally recognized auditing firm conducts this investigation. The awarding of contracts to extract our natural resources must comply with standard international best practices, the laws and regulations of Guyana.

Additionally, we expect this investigation to make recommendations on their findings and changes in the legal and regulatory framework in the award of large contracts and the disposal of the national resources of the county as may be necessary.

We also believe that the international anti-corruption watchdog organization – Transparency International should investigate the matter and render its findings.

On Sunday, June 19, 2022, a prominent US cable network – Showtime, released an investigative report, “Guyana For Sale”, exposing how large international contracts for Guyana’s natural resources are procured and awarded.

In the report, the undercover journalist interviewed prominent Chinese businessman Mr Su Zhi Rong about how he was able to procure and secure large contracts for prominent international Chinese investors. 

In his own words, Mr Su advertises that he acts on a commission basis with a high-ranking Government official to procure and secure contracts for foreign investors without the necessity of adhering to Guyana’s procurement laws and procedures.

To demonstrate his access to the highest echelon of powerful Guyanese government officials, Mr Su took the undercover journalists, posing as the secretary to an investor, to meet with a high-ranking Government official at his private residence.

The high-ranking government official received Mr. Su and his guests and engaged in a conversation about procuring a contract for the investor. The government official indicated that Mr. Su would handle the process, and he (the high-ranking Government official) would facilitate the process by approving it.

In other recorded and documented conversations between Mr. Su and the investor confirmed that in these arrangements, he would split the commission for procuring these contracts with the high-ranking Government official and had done so before.

Independent sources have confirmed Mr. Su as a tenant and friend of the high-ranking government official.

It is now evident that the opportunities for investment in Guyana for the orderly extraction of the country’s national resources are being restricted to a select and chosen few in a highly corrupt practice. Showtime’s damning report shows that Guyanese, regional and other international investors were excluded based on the unscrutinized decisions of high-ranking Government officials.

It has been rumored for some time that the government was not adhering to industry practices in awarding contracts and used its influence to exclude certified Guyanese companies. The Showtime investigation is, therefore, a welcomed revelation which must be used to address these concerns.

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