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Former Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson has denied requesting gifts from state agencies under his control while admitting that he did receive gifts during his tenure as Minister.
In a statement, Patterson who is also the General Secretary of the Alliance for Change (AFC) and Member of Parliament, said that
Ministers from both sides of the political divide have been presented with gifts and other memorabilia on numerous special occasions.
“In my case, at no time did I ever request, solicit or influence in any way the action of any agency in relation to the presentation of gifts to me or other officials of the government,” Mr. Patterson explained.
“I believe it is also necessary to state that I had no prior knowledge of any decision or details relating to the purchase or presentation of gifts to anyone, including myself,” he added.
Patterson said he assumed that gifts presented to him during his incumbency were fully compliant with the procurement guidelines of the giving agency.
According to the statement, the standard policy directives stipulate how such matters should be handled as directed by Cabinet decision, by circular from the Ministry of Finance or by Board policy.
Patterson said he is not blinded or frightened by the accusations but he rejects and repudiates “the veiled attempt at racial stereotyping in some of the comments circulating in the media space.”
“It has also come to my attention that it is further alleged that I received a number of electronic items, such as phones, iPads and laptops. This is absolutely untrue, and I categorically deny it. Whoever fabricated this lie obviously does not know that, for security and other reasons, I do not accept electronics of any kind from any agency, including the government, and I have always personally selected and purchased all electronic items I own. For instance, for this reason, I did not accept a mobile telephone offered by the Parliament to Ministers,” he said.
According to the former Minister, who now serves as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the revelation of the gifts are a deliberate attempt at character assassination for political purposes which he said will not succeed in derailing his objective of overseeing the government’s expenditure and procurement practices through his chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and representation of the Guyanese people in Parliament.
“It would have precisely the opposite effect, as I will be guided by the oversight rules, laws and policies to relentlessly ensure good governance, including proper expenditure according to best practice,” Mr Patterson stated adding that “I will resist these baseless attacks from whichever quarters they emanate”.