Recent reports about Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Presidency, Omar Shariff, claiming to discover a huge fraud case involving International Donor Agencies are false, according to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.
During a post-Cabinet media briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency, Minister Harmon was asked about the reported claims by some sections of the media. He explained that he personally contacted Shariff this morning and was told by him that, “he never made such a statement to anybody.”
There were media reports, attributed to a source close to Shariff, that the Permanent Secretary had discovered the fraud and made a report to the Minister of State, hence this was the reason he was sent on leave to facilitate an investigation into his suddenly acquired wealth.
The Minister of State reiterated that the reason the Permanent Secretary was sent on leave, was to facilitate the ongoing police investigation into the acquisition of his personal assets and accounts.
“The fact that Mr. Shariff has been sent on leave is because of an investigation by the SOCU (Special Organised Crime Unit), and he was sent on leave after he advised me that he was being investigated and that the police ranks from the SOCU were at his office and that they were taking him down for an investigation into what he said to me were matters of a private nature and involving tax liabilities. So it would not have been proper practice for him to remain on the job while he was being the subject of such an important investigation,” Minister Harmon explained.
Minister Harmon noted in a prior statement that even though Shariff was an executive of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), the current Parliamentary Opposition, when the new administration took office, Shariff was given the opportunity to continue to serve in his professional capacity.
An investigation into the acquisition by Shariff of billions of dollars over the last few years is ongoing by SOCU.