SOCU prepares 19 charges for ex Housing Minister Irfaan Ali

SOCU prepares 19 charges for ex Minister Irfaan Ali

Irfann Ali

The Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) of the Guyana Police Force has prepared 19 charges against former Minister of Housing, Irfaan Ali.

Kaieteur News understands that many of the charges have to do with the Pradoville Two case. However, SOCU has reportedly found that Ali acted illegally with the manner in which he distributed several other large and expensive plots of land.

Sources within SOCU have all confirmed that the agency will be moving swiftly in the near future to lay the 19 charges and ensure that justice is served.     

But, one source said that SOCU is being careful to ensure that everything is done correctly, “given the fact that we have not had so many successes so far.”

 

SOCU believes that its case against the former Minister is strong and said that, “we have relevant pieces of documents to support our conviction that he, (Irfaan) aided by (former President Bharrat) Jagdeo, ripped off the State for the benefit of them, their friends and families.”

This newspaper sought more information as to the strength of case as it relates to evidence but SOCU officials are very tight-lipped about those details.

“I am sure you can understand why we cannot give out too much information on this but be assured that we have put in the work. I have told you more than enough,” one source said.

Ali is said to be very close to Jagdeo and is also one of the PPP’s candidates for Presidency to compete against the coalition in the 2020 elections.

Kaieteur News understands that while most of the charges are for Ali, he is not the only big wig in the PPP/C that is likely to be taken before the courts for actions done while in government.

About five months ago, this newspaper reported that SOCU completed its investigation into the allocation of lands at ‘Pradoville Two’ to Cabinet members of the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic Administration and their close associates.

At that time, Head of SOCU, Sydney James, told Kaieteur News that the file was long completed and had been handed over to Police Legal Advisor, Justice Claudette Singh. “It is now at the stage where criminal charges are to be laid,” said James. He declined to name some of the persons likely to be charged.

This newspaper understands that when the file was initially completed, Singh requested valuation of the plots of land.
James confirmed that when investigations were being wrapped up, former Land Registrar Juliet Sattaur was called in again to “assist” the investigators.
He said, “She gave a statement in the initial investigation and she was called in two months ago. She was called in to verify something within the file.”
James explained that what happens next is all up to Justice Singh as SOCU has done everything it had to do.

“The DPP cannot have a say because she is mentioned in the file. Criminal charges are to be laid against a number of individuals but I like to keep it professional so I would not give names.”

DPP Shalimar Ali-Hack is listed as a beneficiary of the controversial Pradoville Two deal. A State Assets Recovery Assets (SARA) report said that on September 7, 2011, the DPP bought Lot 184 Sparendaam, ECD, Block IV, which is 0.2767 acres of land.

The investigation into the lands came after a special investigation of the Sparendaam Housing Project referred to as `Pradoville 2’ was completed. The investigation was part of a larger probe of the financial operations of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA), was conducted by accounting firm Ram & McRae.

The investigation revealed that the allocation of the land was a clandestine arrangement that was handled personally by former housing minister Irfaan Ali and it was concluded that a criminal case for misfeasance can be made against the PPP/C Cabinet members who benefitted.

Lots were allocated to six Cabinet members—former President Bharrat Jagdeo, Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon and Ministers Priya Manickchand, Dr. Jennifer Westford, Robert Persaud and Clement Rohee—along with other persons with connections to the then government.

The forensic audit, found that awardees grossly underpaid for the lots by a total of nearly $250 million, while the state-owned National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited, National Communications Network and Guyana Power and Light Inc. were never reimbursed for millions of dollars spent to execute preparatory works.

“Our examination leads to the conclusion that the project was done outside of the established procedures and that Minister (of Housing Irfaan Ali) piloted every aspect of the transaction without recourse to the Authority.

While the minister has considerable powers under the Housing Act, his role in the issue of titles was well outside of his functions and powers,” the final report, said.
The report added, “No files were maintained by CHPA for any of the plots allocated by a process that can be described as lacking transparency at best,” it further said.
It was stated that of the 28 lots, totalling 12.1187 acres, only 3.9693 acres remain unallocated.

Over two dozen persons, including former president Bharrat Jagdeo and some of his former ministers were questioned by SOCU officials in the early stages of the investigations.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: