AFC would support NICIL’s liquidation – Ramjattan

AFC would support NICIL’s liquidation – Ramjattan

May 16, 2012 – Demerara Waves

The Alliance For Change (AFC) says it would support the liquidation of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) should it operations be found to be unconstitutional.

This was relayed by AFC Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan at a news briefing on Wednesday the same day that a newspaper article reported the APNU’s Carl Greenidge as saying that that was an option if efforts to rectify the situation with the state holding company NICIL fail.

“I would call for a liquidation of the company and then a literal extinguishment if I may say so … bringing its activities to an end after it would have been liquidated and so it will not form part of our financial infrastructure anymore, it’s being abused,” Ramjattan said.     

The opposition parties have been calling for the monies in the NICIL account be added to the Consolidated Fund while the government contends that the holding company is operating under the Companies Act and is therefore not subject to the constitutional requirement that calls for state resources to go to the Fund. NICIL has said that dividends realised from the assets are paid into the Consolidated Fund since government is the lone shareholder.

Ramjattan recently claimed that a PPP cabal was controlling the funds which could be as much as GUY$50B, a figure the government has disputed. NICIL’s executive director Winston Brassington has pegged the figure at GUY$700M.

Speaking to reporters earlier Wednesday Cabinet Secretary Dr. Luncheon said an examination of the articles of association of NICIL would gave a clear understanding of what it was set up to do and what it is doing. He added that even if the government was unfamiliar with those articles the Auditor General is not and would have mentioned it.

“I don’t believe that the Auditor General has drawn to the Board’s attention much less to the public’s attention when these audited financial statements  are laid in parliament that we have indeed violently, orderly or any other way been administering and having NICIL operate inconsistent with the Companies Act, inconsistent with the laws of Guyana,” Dr. Luncheon said.

But the AFC has consistently said that undue pressures may have been placed on AG Deodat Sharma even going so far as to point out that his deputy is the wife of the Minister of Finance.

On Wednesday Dr. Luncheon said the management of NICIL has countered every single accusation, misinformation and hype from the opposition.
“There are very few government entities that have been so open in discussing with the public, discussing with the Private sector, discussing with informed public opinion, its affairs. And so my feeling is ask the questions, put them down on paper.

I understand now that we‘re going to take it to parliament and have the questions asked in parliament. It’s frightfully late in the day after we have been exposed to all this haranguing and all of this hype to now say let’s go to parliament, I will question you in parliament,” Dr. Luncheon said.

Brassington has also offered to debate Ramjattan on NICIL’s operations but the AFC Chairman said he prefers to “interrogate” the official in parliament.
Ramjattan has said the AFC will be calling for an investigation of NICIL’s operations as soon as the parliamentary Economic Services Commission is reconfigured while the APNU has tabled a motion calling for the “urgent commissioning of an independent financial audit” of the operations of NICIL and the Privatisation Unit.

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