first_imgChairman of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Dr Maurice Odle is of the view that local newspaper Kaieteur News is being “rash” in its claims that that the NICIL Board members are uninterested in bringing wrongdoers to justice.The chairman was responding to an article carried by the newspaper on Wednesday last titled “NICIL’s operations still shrouded in secrecy”. The article claimed that even with a new Administration in place, the installment of different board members, and a detailed forensic audit report exposing the company’s weaknesses, NICIL has not changed its face and that a year has gone yet the entity “essentially remains shrouded in the secrecy that had been detested during the previous regime”.NICIL Chairman,Dr Maurice OdleAccording to a detailed statement from Dr Odle on Friday, while the forensic report of auditor Anand Goolsarran has been in the hands of the NICIL Board for several months now, the Board is awaiting the outcome of the additional transactions audit, recommended by the Forensic Auditor and endorsed by the Cabinet, which is currently being undertaken by the Audit Office of Guyana.In the meantime, the Chairman noted that the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) has been examining NICIL’s records and files for any evidence of corruption and other illegality.“NICIL stands ready to take whatever appropriate action is required,” he remarked while adding that the Board has already made several policy reforms and operational adjustments based on the Forensic Auditor’s comments and recommendations.To this end, he pointed that the Minister of Finance no longer sits on the Board after the auditor found it “inappropriate” for the Minister to appoint himself to chair NICIL’s Board since in effect, he is reporting to himself on matters relating to NICIL.It was highlighted too in the statement that, in accordance with recommendations made, NICIL’s Chief Executive Officer Winston Brassington has resigned back January while the Deputy CEO Marcia Nadir-Sharma is currently on Administrative Leave pending the outcome of the transactions audit.Moreover, the NICIL Chairman posited that in relation to recommendations of liquidating NICIL as a private limited liability company, such a policy decision has to be taken by Government. In fact, he stated that the Board decided not to recommend the disbanding of NICIL.“The Board recommended that NICIL retain both its original custodial and oversight role as a holding company and, also, its development role. The development role, in conjunction with line Ministries, involves capitalization, financial and legal structuring, and project management, with respect to certain investments approved by Cabinet. In addition, NICIL continues to be responsible for various types of assets, particularly land and property, until such time that the Government may deem it necessary to privatize same,” the Chairman outlined.With regards to its own procurement rules, Dr Odle posited that NICIL is guided by the provisions of the Procurement Act and is in the process of formulating clear implementation rules and guidelines for larger projects.Furthermore, in response to comments about the status of millions of dollars in debt being owed by various agencies, the Chairman disclosed that in relation to the sale of Government’s shares in GTT, no new contract will include terms for payment by instalments. He added that full payment of the purchase price must be effected before possession and/or transfer of ownership will be allowed.Dr Odle also sought to outline that the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) is conducting its own investigations and is yet to formally advise the NICIL Board on its progress as it relates to recovering any State assets/properties that might have been improperly and illegally transferred to third parties.Meanwhile, the article also highlighted the fact that despite the Chairman having given his support for the release of the Marriott Hotel contract, the document is yet to be released under his watch.According to Dr Odle, the current Board of NICIL subscribes to the principles of transparency and accountability. However, he noted that constraints exist, as in the case of the Marriott Management Agreement that was executed under the previous administration.“The terms of this Agreement are “strictly confidential” and disclosure is not possible without the written consent of Marriott,” the NICIL Chairman stated.last_img read more