Gov’t wants additional $116M for SARA
much controversy still surrounding the establishment of the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA), previously known as the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU), the Coalition Government has moved to the National Assembly for millions more to fund the Agency. The request for the monies for SARA was made under the budget for the Ministry of Legal Affairs – under the heading ‘subsidies and contributions to local organisations’.
The sums requested include: $89.89M for managerial, technical, supervisory and clerical staffers, as well as for services; $13M for two vehicles; and $13.42M to furnish and equip a newly rented building to house SARA, inclusive of furniture, television, refrigerator, photocopier, computer server and water dispenser – a whopping $116.31M.
In April this year, after fiery arguments on the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) Bill by the political Opposition Parliamentarian, Government Parliamentarian and Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman, moved a motion for a vote to be called on the passage of the Bill – effectively shutting down the debate. In addition to the political Opposition, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) were among the bodies that rejected the SARA Bill in the form it was brought to the National Assembly. There were several calls for the Bill to be sent to a Parliamentary Special Select Committee. The Bill was passed by a government majority.
Meanwhile, the matter of top staffers for SARA is currently before the Parliamentary Committee of Appointments.
The government’s request for the monies is expected to be scrutinized by the political Opposition. The monies requested for SARA is part of an additional $2.51B requested by Government via a financial paper – the second financial paper brought to the House in the last seven months.