SARU officials invade, seize computers from Enmore NDC

first_img– PPP says incident another flagrant abuse of authority– SARU’s CEO says operation was to retrieve systems NDC wanted to “get rid” ofAgents attached to the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU) on Thursday afternoon went to the Enmore Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) office and confiscated several computer systems.A statement from the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) revealed that the incident took place around 14:00h. According to the Opposition, the group of SARU officials went to the NDC located at Station Road in Newtown, Enmore in the company of Councillor Deochan Singh, a representative of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition on the Council.The release further stated that the officials took away from the premises, without the permission of the NDC or the Community Resource Centre, 15 complete desktop computers and eight backup power-packs.“These equipment are owned by the Community Resource Centre, a Non-Governmental Organisation, established by the residents of Enmore that uses these equipment to hold classes for young people in the community. The equipment are stored and the classes are held in the upper flat of the NDC building with the permission of the said NDC,” the PPP said.Moreover, it was reported that when the acting Chairman of the NDC attempted to intervene, he was assaulted by Councillor Singh. A report of the incident was made to the Police Outpost at Enmore, the Opposition said in the statement.However, when contacted on Thursday evening, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SARU, Major (Rtd) Aubrey Heath-Retemyer denied that anyone was assaulted during the operation as claimed by the PPP. He further explained to <<>> that his agency had merely gone to render assistance to the e-governance department, which was going to retrieve the computer systems after it was informed by SARU that the NDC wanted to “get rid” of them.“We got information that these computers were there and that they were not in use and that some people on the NDC were about to get rid of them; whatever get rid of means – selling them or giving them away – I don’t know,” he stated.Heath-Retemyer went on to say that “we simply alerted E-governance who asked for us to accompany them, so some people went from my unit with E-governance, collect the computers and give them to E-governance, who has them.”According to the SARU Head, the systems were taken by E-governance so that in the future, the people of Enmore can access them.The Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) at Enmore, East Coast DemeraraAsked by this newspaper whether they had informed the NDC officials beforehand or tried to ascertain whether there were indeed efforts to “get rid “of the systems, Heath-Retemyer responded in the negative.He said, “I didn’t inform them and what we did is try to assist E-governance. I guess whoever went up there would have spoken to somebody (from the NDC). I don’t know the details because I was out of the office, so I can’t say exactly what transpired after then.”Meanwhile, the PPP, which won 16 of the 18 seats on the Enmore NDC in the March 2015 Local Government Elections (LGE), pointed out that this incident was another flagrant abuse of authority and another extreme authoritarian initiative of this Government, again using SARU, as a weapon against innocent citizens and their private property.“Currently, SARU has absolutely no law enforcement powers. The PPP emphasises that these abuses are taking place in broad daylight and without the SARA [State Assets Recovery Agency] Bill being enacted. One can only imagine the illegal rampages, which will take place when this Bill assumes the force of law,” the Party stated.To this end, the PPP calls upon the Commissioner of Police to immediately launch a full investigation into this matter. The Opposition wants the Police “…to institute criminal charges forthwith against those who were engaged in this clandestine, unconstitutional, authoritarian and criminal enterprise”.Moreover, the Party’s statement outlined that the Enmore NDC and the Community Resource Centre have also been advised to launch civil proceedings against the State claiming monetary compensation for trespass, constitutional violations and deprivation of private property. (Vahnu Manikchand)last_img

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