PERMANENT Secretary of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, Sharon Hicks, was, on Thursday afternoon, arrested after allegedly demanding bribes from a contractor who paid her with marked bills that were retrieved during a sting operation carried out by the police.
The 42-year-old woman of West Bank Demerara (WBD) was arrested at her Quamina and Thomas Streets, South Cummingsburg Office for allegedly demanding money by menace.
The Permanent Secretary was released on bail and investigations into the matter are ongoing.
Crime Chief, Senior Superintendent Wendell Blanhum, who confirmed the arrest, noted that a sting operation was conducted where marked bills were reportedly paid to the Permanent Secretary by the businessman. Those bills were found in her possession.
He said the police were contacted pertaining to Hicks’ alleged demands for payments from the contractor.
Reports indicate that the payments were ongoing for several months and the businessman was allegedly threatened that he would not receive contracts if the monies demanded were not paid monthly.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs in a release said that on October 7, 2021, Permanent Secretary Hicks was sent on Administrative leave pending the outcome of a police investigation relating to the matter in the public domain.
“The Ministry also wishes to respond to the issues circulating in the public about its officials. It was the Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, whose recommendation resulted in the appointment of Ms. Hicks to the position of Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs under the PPP/C Government.
Additionally, there was one occasion when the Permanent was on a seven days sick leave where the Deputy Permanent Secretary (DPS) was assigned the duties in her absence, putting to rest the claim that the DPS was executing the duties of the Permanent Secretary while she was on duty.
The ministry wishes to state that at no time was any vehicle registered to the ministry assigned to any close relative of the minister,” the release concluded.