Multibillion dollar accounts, shares in big companies, properties across Guyana
… are just some of the assets in the name of permanent secretary, Omar Shariff
Jul 31, 2016 KaieteurNews – How has a Permanent Secretary been able to accumulate billions of dollars? That’s the question in the minds of investigators looking into the Omar Shariff case. In any event, it has become quite obvious that there is more to Shariff than what meets the eye.
Shariff, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Presidency is no stranger to negative publicity. But further to revelations that the public servant had billions of dollars in a number of accounts at local banks, there is now information that he has invested some of his money in shares at a few thriving establishments.
In 2010, Shariff and his reputed wife, Sabeita Hardeo, acquired thousands of shares in three major companies across Guyana. These companies are Banks DIH, Republic Bank, and Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI).
In March 2010, Shariff and Hardeo bought 10,000 shares in GBTI and another 10,000 shares in Banks DIH. The very next month the famous two bought 7,500 shares in Republic Bank.
When the media got word about Shariff’s billions there was no detailed information on the amounts in his various accounts.
Kaieteur News has found out that Sharif f has 14 accounts. Some contained millions of dollars while others had billions of dollars. The Permanent Secretary has accounts at five banks. Interestingly, Shariff withdrew as much as—and in some cases—even more than he deposited.
The Permanent Secretary, who is now the subject of an investigation, deposited $1.7B in his Citizens Bank account and withdrew $173M.
He has nine accounts at GBTI. The combined amount in those accounts was just over $14.9B and he withdrew $14.6B. There was a recorded overdraft from one of his GBTI accounts.
Shariff has only one Republic Bank account. He had deposited over $953.6M but withdrew $953.8M. He has two Scotia Bank accounts. However, Kaieteur News was only able to get its hands on information of what was contained in one of these accounts. Shariff had deposited over $454.9M in one of his Scotia Bank accounts.
There are figures representing an overdraft from this account as he withdrew over $455.2M
Shariff also has an NBS account. He had deposited only $2.1M in this account and withdrew just $51,771. In total, Shariff deposited over $18B in his 14 accounts. His overall withdrawal amounts to over $16.2B. It is believed that the monies were deposited over a five-year period.
The public servant, who remains on leave, has nine properties across Guyana. Some of these are registered in his name while others are registered in the name of his reputed wife, Sabeita.
Shariff has six motor vehicles in his name including a tractor and a trailer. All properties and vehicles were acquired before 2015.
Shariff is a former Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO), an arm of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), the current Opposition, and was a candidate for that party in last year’s General Elections.
Shariff was sent off on leave earlier in July, by Minister of State Joseph Harmon in order to facilitate a probe by both the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) and the State Assets Recovery Unit. A letter Harmon sent to him indicated that the Minister knew sometime before that Shariff was under investigation.
In addition to being questioned, Shariff also had his home searched by Law Enforcement officers.
Investigators are probing how Shariff ended up with billions in his accounts.
From all indications, investigators are not buying Shariff’s contention that he owned a business that raked in almost $100M annually for the last seven years. There seems to be little evidence that taxes were paid.
In addition, there were questions about his role after a major investigation revealed that the Office of the President, under Shariff’s watch, transferred hundreds of millions of dollars to the Ministry of Public Service, headed by then Minister, Dr. Jennifer Westford.
Westford, a sitting PPP Member of Parliament and her assistant Margaret Cummings, are currently before the courts facing 24 simple larceny charges. The charges allege that between August 2011 and April 2015, while being employed in the Public Service of the Government of Guyana, they stole the sum of $639.4M belonging to the state.