After weeks of calls for clarity in the NICIL dealings by the media, AFC and APNU, NCN government spokesperson Michael Gordon was ordered to facilitate an impromptu “debate” on Channel 69 in Guyana.
The government’s desperation was clear as they trotted out Finance Minister and NICIL Chairman Ashni Singh, NICIL Executive Director Winston Brassington and Presidential advisor Roger Luncheon, all of whom are members of the NICIL Board of Directors and all of whom are complicit in the gross mismanagement, corruption and underhanded transfer of ownership of the nation’s assets into the hands of their friends and family members.
In what can only be described as a farce, these government representatives last night participated in a propaganda exercise that failed to answer the questions surrounding NICIL, specifically, the lack of accounting controls, the criminal disposal of the nation’s assets, the 7 years of nonexistent audit reports and in general, Winston Brassington’s errant stewardship of that government entity and Dr. Ashni Singh’s well-crafted and formerly obscure conflicts of interest.
What the viewers witnessed on NCN was not a debate, but a carefully orchestrated sham where the government refused to answer questions and accused the private media of creating a false controversy. Finance Minister Ashni Singh did not address the glaring conflicts of interest in his Chairmanship of NICIL; a company which reports to [himself as] the Finance Minister. He also skirted the issue of his wife’s prominent role within the Auditor General’s office. Winston Brassington could only say that he did nothing wrong, but failed to answer serious ethical questions about insider information and NICIL’s failure to lay before Parliament it annual audit reports for the past 7 years.
It should be noted that the invited parties were only notified of the “debate” less than 24 hours before the scheduled event. Sources close to OV shared that AFCs Khemraj Ramjattan refused to debate suspects. Ramjattan further shared that, “Suspects should be interrogated.” Prominent Accountant Chris Ram publicly stated that he was “persona non grata” at NCN for a long time and therefore was surprised to be invited to the discussion, but took the opportunity to participate because he had pertinent questions that he wanted answered. Sources close to APNU shared their position to be, “APNU rejects the farce that the government is trying to pass off as a debate”
OV holds the very serious position that an independent forensic audit should be financed by the government and conducted by either or combined efforts of the agencies of Chris Ram and Nigel Hinds; two preeminent local Audit and Accounting talents, before the NICIL board is called to testify in the National Assembly. The Assembly simply must not rely on compromised and rushed audit reports produced by Ashni Singh and the NICIL organization.
OV calls for a full and serious ventilation of the facts. The time for debates is long past; it is now time for answers. Ashni Singh, Winston Brassington, Roger Luncheon and Bharrat Jagdeo are all complicit in the fleecing of Guyanese citizens and they must face the people’s representatives and give account to the people.