‘Target for character assassination’

Dear Editor,

The moribund PPP continues to target me for character assassination. The insane attack on my right to work and earn as a professional is a political response to my exposure of corruption, and the principled stand of the Alliance for Change that the billions being held by NICIL ought to be paid into the Consolidated Fund.

The latest attack is the banner Sunday Chronicle of February 3, headline ‘Nagamootoo exposed again – received millions from NICIL.’ The rag stated that “for the period January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2008, Mr. Nagamootoo received $6.7M in legal fees from NICIL.”

But from the figures provided by NICIL and published in Chronicle, the alleged $6.7M sum was paid over a six-year period (2006 to 2011) on several contracts for legal service, a couple of which are still to be completed.

We know that the Chronicle has a fatal attraction for lies. But it is pathetic when a liar forgets his own lies.

In a previous front-page banner headline on Sunday, October 7, 2012, this government paper cited a single project (Berbice Bridge) and said that NICIL has paid me “almost $7M for processing of land transports” for relocated D’Edward residents.

I am an attorney-at-law. I am self-employed and independent. Since 2006 I rejected a million-dollar, monthly, sinecure appointment as Political Advisor or Ambassador under the Jagdeo presidency. I instead chose to do legal work for a living.

I was retained by the Guyana Government through NICIL, with full approval of Cabinet, to do specialized legal work. Since 2006, NICIL offered me contracts to:-

1.  Draft legal framework and negotiate compensation and relocation of D’Edward home-owners for construction of the Berbice River Bridge.
2.  Negotiate and settle compensation with Sheet Anchor-Palmyra land owners for acquisition of the pasture east of the Berbice Bridge.
3.  Negotiate compensation package and re-location of homeowners, farmers and occupiers in Dochfour-Hope for the digging of the Hope Canal.

4.  Arbitrate as a quasi judge in a $600 million claim by NICIL against GNIC together with Messrs Robin Stoby and Stephen Fraser.
The Arbitration Tribunal held over 50 sittings, but I get only a contract fee since 2009 and not a per diem.

With these vulgar public attacks and earlier release of cheques paid to me, in breach of all ethical and professional conduct, it seems that the PPP-NICIL want to run me off the Arbitration Tribunal. They want to take away my right to work, which is my right to life.

I am proud of the legal work I have done over several years. I am satisfied that D’Edward villagers received in excess of $90 million in compensation, for which I had demanded that they pay no fees, and a  package that included:-

●  a house-lot for every home-owner who was removed from D’Edward;
● payment of $1.00 (yes, one Guyana dollar) for a house-lot in Ketting (Cotton Tree);
●  streets plus water, electricity and telephone services for the re-location area;
● extended time for affected residents to re-locate;
● assistance to remove their houses and structures.

On 16th October, 2012  Manzoor Nadir, “live” on state-owned National Communications Network (NCN), said that I was paid “$10 million, maybe $20 million fees” by the Chinese company that is involved in expansion work at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
On 17th October, 2012, the Guyana Chronicle reported the lie.

The truth is I have not worked for the Chinese airport company. I did assist another Chinese company that wanted to invest in Guyana. But I have not charged that Chinese company any fees.

The PPP is turning its guns on me for exposing the obscene $3 million a month pension, benefits and other facilities package for past presidents. They are mad that I exposed the billions that NICIL, the government’s fat milking cow, rakes in that should go into the Treasury.

Let me say this: As a lawyer, I have helped many poor people as well as this blighted PPP government. For example, I prepared conveyance documents for government at a nominal fee of $2,500 for each transport passed to people on the Corentyne and in West Berbice. I helped a few NDCs to recover arrears in rates and taxes at a nominal fee of $500 for each legal notice, hardly enough to cover paper, ink and stamps!

For several years, whilst I worked as a journalist, I donated the bulk of my salary to the PPP. I was never and I am not infected with the greed for money. My hands are clean!

And yes, I bitterly opposed in 2009 the vulgar move to pass the president’s pension package (benefits and facilities) when it was rammed through the PPP as a Cabinet decision. I was not allowed a conscience vote on it in parliament. I had to vote along party lines.
On this issue, Nandlall reportedly “nailed” me.

The truth is, I opposed the 2009 bill. I gave so-called PPP leaders hell for it, and accused them of betraying principles of “revolutionary morality.” On November 4, 2011, Kaieteur News quoted me as saying “Jagdeo’s pension plan rattled my soul.”

I explained then: “To my utter shame and regret I voted for it, because I was required to do so as a PPP MP.”
I have not lied on this issue. The PPP realized it was caught with its pants down, so it back-tracked and now tries to discredit me in my profession.

But these attacks are not simply about my earnings. They are small potatoes compared to what government is paying their lawyer friends.
What the PPP wants is to tarnish me with their corruption brush. They want to buy my conscience, to silence me with their filthy money. No way, Jose!
Yours faithfully,
Moses V Nagamootoo

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