AFC to petition Cabinet to keep embattled Ambassador
…claims legal woes now a “spent conviction”
The Foreign Affairs Ministry’s investigation into the veracity and gravity of the charges against Guyana’s Ambassador to Kuwait, Dr Shamir Ally, is still to be completed, but the Alliance For Change (AFC) is standing staunchly behind its member and will petition the Cabinet Council of Ministers to have him remain in his diplomatic posting.
Guyana Times spoke with a reliable source close to the leadership of the AFC and was told that the party leader, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, will be looking to argue the case before Cabinet that Dr Ally’s legal woes in the United States of America should be
considered a “spent conviction”.
A spent conviction refers to a penalty effectively being ignored on a person’s record given the time that has lapsed since the original charges were laid.
This is the argument since the charges are now 14 years old and the party’s leadership is arguing that Dr Ally should not still be held liable or unworthy as Guyana’s Ambassador to Kuwait.
The source has pointed out too that the party’s leadership, in making its case on behalf of Dr Ally, will point to the fact that he is a recipient of the highest award of the US Republican Party and will suggest that if this party saw Dr Ally as fit to receive the award despite his legal troubles, why should he be made to demit a ‘local’ diplomatic posting.
According to reports, on May 11, 1994, Dr Ally received the Republican Senatorial Inner Circle Medal of Freedom from then US President George Bush for dedication, unwavering support, and as a prominent leader in the Republican Party –the highest honour the Republican members of the US Senate can bestow.
The AFC, over the weekend, also in defence of its key supporter said since 2002, Dr Ally has continued to function unimpeded at very high levels in and out of the United States, voting at all national elections, city and town elections.
At Indian Trail, North Carolina, Dr Ally was also sworn in to serve on six Town Boards and Committees from 2014 to December 2015.
More recently, in February 2015, the North Carolina Secretary of State appointed Dr Ally as a Notary Public.
The party was at the time adamant that Dr Ally was charged and required to pay a penalty by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and was not convicted of a crime.
The AFC, over the weekend, issued a missive in defence of Dr Ally, denying he was the mastermind in the US fraud scheme and instead claimed he inherited the accounting system. The party said he “vehemently denied the charges, but agreed to pay the US$10,000 penalty under protest”.
Dr Ally and his co-accused had copped an out-of-court plea deal with the SEC to pay fines ranging from US$10,000 to US$50,000.
He was charged in 2002 by the Commission for “the dissemination of false financial information” using his company, Acrodyne.
The Guyana diplomat and others were said to be “aware of numerous and significant problems with Acrodyne’s accounting controls, but failed to assure that Acrodyne’s financial transactions were accurately recorded”.
According to the AFC’s statement, Dr Ally was charged jointly with two other senior executives of Acrodyne, but “instead of proceeding with a long and costly trial, the three professionals were strongly advised by that company’s Attorney-at-Law, Mr Steven Thomas, to make a deal with the SEC to pay fines without admission of guilt”.
This was done, but Dr Ally, in denying culpability, said the financial practices for which he was charged were in place when he started working at the company.
He accused the SEC of “making him a scapegoat since the accounting procedures he had worked with, he had inherited from his predecessors, and he has consistently iterated that he worked under close supervision”.
Dr Ally, in continuing to deny guilt, said he was prevented access to the accounting records “which would have enabled him to substantially rebut the SEC’s 2002 charge”.
The AFC said that Dr Ally was employed by Acrodyne for a short period, “from February 2, 1999 to May 9, 1999 as the Cost Accounting Manager… On May 10, 1999, he was promoted to Controller and he served in this position for 15 months up to July 10, 2000.”
Dr Ally was fired from Acrodyne in July 2000, circumstances he blamed on a “power struggle, falling revenue/income & a depleting labour force” in the company.
He was later charged along with two other Acrodyne executives, including its President in May 2002, by the SEC with civil action.
Dr Ally, in seeking to provide an explanation, said Acrodyne used to prepare quarterly financial reports “based on some actual, and some estimated figures”.
He said the company would, at the end of the year, do an annual stock taking and these reports would be audited and sent to the SEC.
He maintains that this system of preparing records based in part on estimates “was Standard Operating Procedure at Acrodyne”.
In March 2003, the SEC had ordered Acrodyne to cease and desist from future violations of the anti-fraud, periodic reporting, and books and records provisions of the Exchange.