Eric Phillips justifies SARA’s role

first_img… says it will hound anyone who stole State assetsState Assets Recovery Unit (SARU) member, Dr Eric Phillips, said on Friday that the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) is not on a witch-hunt to jail any Opposition members but will ensure that all State assets are retrieved from anyone who has stolen.SARU member Eric PhillipsHe stated that whether the assets are stolen by current Government officials or previous officials, it will be recovered, adding that SARA was not being set up to bring criminal charges against anyone but rather that would be the job of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).“We are confusing the perception that a lot of the assets were stolen by people in the last Government, but in reality, the Bill doesn’t care who stole the assets. Whether it is former, previous or current, it doesn’t matter. Once you have stolen State assets, the Bill allows for the recovery,” he stated.The legislation envisages non-conviction based civil recoveries of property over $10 million with a 12-year restriction period and wide powers will be available to the Agency to be set up under the law to gather information.A number of persons, including Opposition Leader Bharrat Jadgeo, had publicly registered their disgust over the fact that the Government will be spending taxpayers’ dollars on a unit specially designed for political witch-hunting. Speaking on the issue, former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, contended that it is clear the unit will be used as a weapon to “witch-hunt” the Opposition and any person who opposes the Government.“What else can be its purpose? After all, the Police Force has these very powers. Why else create a new agency? The answer is simple,” he said, pointing out that the Agency is staffed with persons who are politically affiliated with the Government.“This organisation does not. It is a political unit masquerading as a law enforcement agency. It is authoritarianism and constitutional tyranny. The first victims will be the PPP leadership and parliamentary Opposition. Its next victims after that will be the ordinary citizens,” Nandlall asserted.Dr Phillips, however, argued that the Bill is a standard piece of legislation that is used around the world to recover assets belonging to the State. “It is a standard legislation around the world and all we are going after are thieves. It doesn’t matter who they are. More importantly, we are not going to charge them, we just want the assets back. We are not criminally prosecuting anybody that is for the DPP to do base on what the evidence shows” he noted.He stated that the Bill seeks to create an autonomous agency that would not be reporting to any Minister. He stated that the employments of agents and auditors will all undergo public scrutiny, adding that the Director will be hired by a parliamentary committee that has Opposition members on it.However, the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) has warned the Government against using its one-seat majority in the Parliament to pass the bill, fearing that without broad-based political support, ethnically polarised politics would live on.The GHRA recommended that the legislation be broadened from only asset recovery to a substantive inclusion of the goals of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).However, Phillips maintained that the bill has received wide-spread approval and was reviewed by international agencies, the ABC countries, the attorneys locally and internationally, and a judge in the UK.“It has a lot of local and international input and it is validated in terms of its powers. We are after civil recovery which means that we are not into convicting people. We want to make sure that the State recovers its assets and it’s not about charging people criminally and putting them in jail,” he said.He added that due to its broad international scrutiny, analysis and approval in its development, civil recovery has been taken as an alternative but complementary to criminal recovery.Assets hidden abroadHe added that SARU’s goal is to recover assets hidden outside of Guyana, and so they will be working with foreign jurisdictions “because it is their law and their processes we would have to follow… so it would be in partner with investigations with both countries”.He stated that part of the bill talks about mutual legal assistance treaties and there are processes involved in many countries that define how this happens.last_img read more

Cape Town’s new bus system

first_img2010 host city Cape Town is getting anadvanced integrated rapid transportsystem, just in time for the World Cup. The Green Point stadium construction site.The stadium precinct will link to the citycentre, airport and residential areas in thecity bowl.(Images: City of Cape Town)Janine ErasmusIn May 2008 the City of Cape Town unveiled plans for a world-class integrated rapid transport system. Now the first phase has received the green light and will be operational by March 2010, say city authorities. The entire four-phase project will be implemented over the next 10 to 12 years.An integrated rapid transport (IRT) system brings various modes of public transport together into a united effort, and takes priority over private transport.“In the context of our goal of infrastructure-led economic growth and job creation, this is possibly our single most important project,” said Cape Town mayor Helen Zille, recently voted the world’s top mayor for 2008 by the London-based World Mayor Project.“The 2010 Football World Cup is our chance to show the world what we are capable of as a city and as a nation,” commented Zille. “It is one of our best opportunities to market Cape Town as an investment and tourist destination. It is also an important opportunity to fast forward a few years in infrastructure investment, and create a lasting legacy for our citizens.”Cape Town’s IRT system will bring the city up to the required standard for the national Department of Transport’s 2010 host city transport operations plan, as well as the host city agreement signed with Fifa. These plans will make maximum use of existing transport resources, ensuring that security and emergency response strategies are in place, and catering to those with special needs.However, Cape Town citizens will benefit from the new system for many years to come. The initial Phase 1A is designed to demonstrate the system’s capabilities and garner maximum public support ahead of the expansion into the full Phase 1 plan. Each phase has been designed to be financially self-sustaining independent of any future development.Better bus serviceCape Town’s system largely involves an efficient and reliable bus service that will run in two parts – main or trunk routes and feeder routes. The trunk routes will feature dedicated bus lanes, in most cases in the middle of the road, for special 18m articulated vehicles. These vehicles will feature wide doors to allow many people to embark and disembark simultaneously into weatherproof stations, while fares will be collected beforehand using smart cards at station entrances.The emphasis is on easy access between the system and other transport options such as bicycles, taxis and walking, as well as convenience for children, the elderly and the disabled. In addition, vehicles will feature clean, low-noise technology and the whole system is designed as an environmental showcase for Cape Town.The feeder services will connect communities with trunk routes using use smaller 8m and 12m vehicles running on normal streets. Passengers will pay with smart cards as they board. These services are expected to run for longer hours than the city’s current public transport systems.Linking the city and communitiesThe R1.3-billion ($130-million) phase 1A will link Cape Town International Airport and the inner city with the Green Point stadium precinct, a requirement of Cape Town’s status as 2010 host city. Key destinations in the city include Central Station, the V&A Waterfront, Long Street, Sea Point, as well as Hout Bay. Nearby residential areas such as Tamboerskloof, Oranjezicht, Vredehoek and Gardens will be serviced by the feeder system.The inner city service will provide an affordable and convenient way of getting around, not just for the millions of tourists who are expected to pour into South Africa’s host cities during the weeks of the Fifa World Cup, but also for the many thousands of people who live and work in Cape Town’s city bowl.The airport link will provide rapid, high frequency services between the airport and the city centre, Green Point and Sea Point via the N2 freeway’s dedicated bus and minibus taxi lane, which went live on 1 August 2007. The bus lane is already proving to be a great success, getting city commuters to their destinations with a 20 minute saving over previous journey times.Phase 1A will also reach out to high-density residential areas and low-income communities up the west coast, including Bloubergstrand, Table View, Mamre, Atlantis, Doornbach and Du Noon. Many of these communities currently have no sustainable public transport option to boost employment and the new service is expected to breathe new life into the region as well as alleviate high levels of traffic congestion closer to Cape Town.The next three phases will cover the northern and southern suburbs and the Cape Flats communities of Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha, Delft and Blue Downs, as well as the university town of Stellenbosch, located about 50km from the Cape Town city centre.Public participationIn order to ensure that public needs and concerns are met, the City is holding a series of information meetings during October and November 2008. The meetings will involve communities, people and businesses affected by the first phase.City authorities are also working to provide all existing bus and minibus owners the opportunity to participate in the Cape Town IRT system.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Useful linksCape Town IRT websiteDepartment of Transport 2010 transport projectslast_img read more

Over 3 lakh ‘diya’ lit on banks of Sarayu river in new world record

first_imgA new world record was set in the holy city of Ayodhya on the eve of Diwali on Tuesday with over three lakh “diya” or earthen lamps lit up simultaneously on the banks of the Sarayu river, officials said.Rishi Nath, official adjudicator of the Guinness World Records, made the announcement that the record was created at the Deepotsav event on the ghats here. “A total of 3,01,152 diya were lit up simultaneously for a period of five minutes, which is a new record,” Mr. Nath said in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and South Korean First Lady Kim Jung-sook.The target was to illuminate a total of 3.35 lakh diya on both sides of the ghats at Ram Ki Paidi here.“It beat the earlier record set in Haryana in 2016, where at an event 1,50,009 diya were lit,” Mr. Nath said and hailed the new record as “phenomenal”.last_img read more

Gagan Narang wins bronze in 10m Air Rifle, gives India its first medal at the 2012 Olympics

first_imgIndia has won its first medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Gagan Narang won a bronze for the country in the 10m Air Rifle event with an overall score of 701.1.India Today correspondents provided live updates from the Royal Artillary Barracks in London, where the final took place.HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FINAL 5:20 pm | Gagan Narang to S Kannan: “I am glad. I am now an Olympic medallist.”5:20 pm | S Kannan: “Gagan Narang wins bronze on last shot in a nerve wracking final.”5:15 pm | S Kannan: “Gagan Narang makes every Indian proud around the world.” 5:09 pm | India Today: What a comeback by Gagan Narang! A 10.7 with his last shot gives India it’s first medal of the Games. A bronze it is for him. 5:06 pm | India Today: Better this from Gagan Narang. He gets a 10.3 with his ninth shot. But will it be enough to get him back on the podium. 5:04 pm | India Today: Nerves seem to be getting to Narang in these closing stages of the final. A 9.5 has dropped him further down the order. 5:01 pm | India Today: A rather poor attempt by Narang. He could manage only a 9.9 in his seventh shot. This has dropped him down to fourth and out of medal contention. 4:59 pm | India Today: Gagan Narang is in silver medal position now. A 10.6 in his sixth shot moves him up a place. 4:56 pm | India Today: Consistency is Narang’s strength and he’s showing it here. His fifth shot — a 10.4 — gives him a total of 52.1. 4:53 pm | India Today: Another 10.7 from Narang. He’s really turning it on in the final.  Just 0.5 away from the top-spot. His score is good for a bronze at the moment. advertisement4:50 pm | India Today: Gagan bounces back like a champion with a shot of 10.6. His total score is 31.0 for the final and 629.0 overall.4:47 pm | India Today: Narang’s second shot is a bit of a let down. It’s a 9.7. His total score right now is 20.4 in the final.4:45 pm | India Today: Gagan Narang has made a superb start in the final round. His first shot is a 10.7. Joint-second place for now. 4:34 pm | Gaurav Gala: “Can Gagan shoot India’s first medal at London 2012? We’ll find out soon enough.”4:30 pm | Gaurav Gala: “Finalists have come to the arena… Anticipation is building.”4:29 pm | S Kannan: “Gagan Narang enters hall for the final. Historic moment. Ajay Maken is also watching.”HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE QUALIFICATION ROUNDS Kannan: “Abhinav Bindra says he won’t quit shooting. He will now watch Gagan Narang shoot the final.” S Kannan: “On the bright side, Gagan Narang has qualified third for the final of the event. He scored 598 out of 600.”S Kannan has sent us this picture of a disappointed Abhinav Bindra right after missing the cut  in the 10m Air Rifle event.Gaurav Gala: “Beijing gold medallist Abhinav Bindra fails to qualify for the finals of the 10m Air Rifle event in London 2012. That’s a massive upset for the Indian contingent. Bindra finished 16th with a score of 594 / 600″S Kannan: “Bindra seems to be faltering again after a good comeback. He’s out of the top-10 at the moment. Narang continues to be strong in fourth position. Last series of shots going on. This is it!”Gaurav Gala: “Bindra showing his class in the second and third series. Making a late charge with 20 perfect shots. Bindra in 7th position.”Gaurav Gala: “Abhinav steadily climbing the leaderboard… 99, 99, 100… 30 more shots left for the defending champ.”Gaurav Gala: “Gagan has shot 20 perfect shots so far. Fingers crossed!”Gaurav Gala: “Gagan Narang still on a roll. He wants this Olympic medal.” Aaj Tak Sports Editor Samip Rajguru has sent us this picture of Sports Minister Ajay Maken at the 10m Air  Rifle event.Gaurav Gala: “Bindra at 198 / 200. Hoping for a late surge from the defending champ.”Gaurav Gala: “Gagan is taking his time. And its paying off so far.”Headlines Today Sports Editor Gaurav Gala says from London: “Gagan Narang on fire early on in the 10m Air Rifle qualification. He hasn’t missed a perfect 10 yet.”S Kannan: “Shooting arena is packed. Sports minister Ajay Maken is also here.”Mail Today Sports Editor S Kannan says from London: “Gagan Narang and Abhinav Bindra start their 10 m Air Rifle match.”last_img read more

Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014: Games begin today, Sachin to play special role

first_imgVijender Kumar and Mandeep Jangra during a training session in Glasgow.The unprecedented success achieved in the last edition would be hard to replicate this time but a 215-member Indian contingent would nonetheless seek a top-five finish at the 20th Commonwealth Games which begin in Glasgow on Wednesday.India finished second behind Australia with a record 101 medal haul in New Delhi.The Games will have superstar sprinter Usain Bolt of Jamaica and middle and long distance king Mo Farah of England as highlights of the sporting extravaganza.India will be hit hard by the scrapping of archery and tennis and the reduction in the number of medal events in shooting and wrestling.India’s medal tally is expected to reduce drastically from the 101 (38 gold, 27 silver, 36 bronze) in 2010 and anything above 60 can be considered an achievement.India and Canada, who have sent a 265-member team to Glasgow, are expected to fight for third place behind Australia and England.India has returned with nearly 30 medallists from the last Games with the likes of Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang, Vijender Singh, Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, Krishna Poonia, Ashish Kumar and Achanta Sharath Kamal set to prove their mettle once again.Shooting is still expected to contribute a major chunk of medals for India despite 18 events being dropped since the last edition. Wrestling could get win at least 10 medals.The men’s and women’s hockey teams are also expected to finish on the podium.India is also set to lose out in athletics, which yielded 12 medals, including two gold, in Delhi. With lack of preparation ahead of the Games and most athletes struggling for form, not much is expected. The country may expect four or five medals with Krishna Poonia and Vikas Gowda (discus throw) and Arpinder Singh (triple jump) among contenders. The women’s 4x400m relay quartet has an outside chance for a medal.advertisementIn badminton, despite the absence of Saina Nehwal, India is expected to do well with PV Sindhu top seeded shuttler in women’s singles.The Games will officially be opened by Queen Elizabeth II at Celtic Park. Sachin at openingSachin Tendulkar is all set to play a special part in Wednesday’s opening ceremony of the 20th Commonwealth Games.Tendulkar will make his presence felt during the ceremony as the Global Goodwill Ambassador of the UNICEF, which has partnered with the GlasgowCWG organisers and the Commonwealth Games Federation in a first-of-its-kind initiative to spread awareness about the childrens’ problems.Organisers are however tightlipped about the details of Tendulkar’s role during the ceremony.”There will be something special from Tendulkar, wait and watch tomorrow, Lord David Puttnam,” UNICEF UK Ambassador, said after a programme on the partnership. Indian coaches now allowed at ringsideIndian boxers at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games will now be assisted by their coaches at ringside during their bouts.Kishen Narsi, India’s representative at the International Boxing Association (AIBA), informed that the world body has reversed its earlier decision byallowing Indian coaches to assist pugilists.”The Indian boxers are relieved and excited that Indian coaches will be allowed to second our boxers and be at ringside as per the information communicated by AIBA secretary,” read the mail.AIBA had earlier banned India coaches from ringside without giving any specific reason, but it was learnt that it resulted from confusion after the Indian federation’s exclusion from AIBA’s member list.But the world body seems to have realised that though the Indian federation is not a full member, it has provisional membership and has the right to take coaches to a tournament.The AIBA had already allowed Indian boxers to wear the national jersey, use the Tri-colour and play the national anthem in case one of them wins a gold medal during the CWG. Till then, the boxers were fighting under the AIBA banner ever since the Indian federation was suspended in December 2012. But AIBA had stated that coaches can’t be at ringside, a decision they reversed on Tuesday.The relaxation is only for the CWG as the AIBA has recently directed Boxing India, the provisional group to run the sport, to conduct an election byAugust 15 otherwise the boxers and coaches will face a ban from all AIBA-sanctioned tournaments.Eight men and three women Indian boxers are participating in Glasgow. The boxing competition starts on Friday but the pugilists have reached well inadvance to acclimatise. The men’s team has two practice sessions a day. Women boxers are excited since the discipline is making its debut at the CWG. However, their participation is limited to only – 51kg, 60kg and 75kg. At 2010 CWG, Indian boxers won three gold and four bronze medals.advertisementlast_img read more