Deputy Accountant General of the Ministry of Finance, Vladim Persaud, who was arrested on Wednesday by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) was released later that night on $400,000 bail and has since been sent on leave by his employer.
Sources close to Persaud told Stabroek News that while he was ordered to pay $400,000 in bail he was not told what matter the money was being posted in relation to.
“He is out on $400,000 bail but they didn’t charge him,” the source said.
In addition, this newspaper understands that Persaud was sent on 42 days accumulated leave, with immediate effect, by his superiors at the Ministry of Finance.
The leave, it was explained is to facilitate SOCU’s investigation.
Persaud was brought in for questioning by SOCU on Wednesday in relation to the findings of a government-ordered forensic audit.
The forensic audit was one conducted by former Auditor General Anand Goolsarran pertaining to the management of NICIL.
Goolsarran, among other things, recommended criminal and/or disciplinary action against all those responsible for the interception of state revenues, totalling $26.858 billion, in violation of the Constitution. Goolsarran had said that several laws were broken.
But Persaud’s arrest triggered the ire of former President Donald Ramotar, under whose tenure Persaud had served, with him calling it harassment and racial profiling. The period under scrutiny also included Ramotar’s term in office.
Ramotar told this newspaper that he was made aware of the matter by Persaud’s mother, who was traumatised by the ordeal of her son being taken from his workplace for police questioning.
He said that Persaud’s mother related that she received a call that her son was arrested at work and taken to SOCU for questioning and was so flustered that she felt helpless.
An upset Ramotar said that SOCU was wrong to arrest Persaud because works he performed would have been under the instruction of his superiors and there was never a problem with the young accountant’s work ethic.
For this year, SOCU has arrested and questioned several persons stemming from audits that the APNU+AFC government had ordered since taking office in 2015.
Persaud was told that as needed, SOCU would communicate with him as it continues its investigations.