No annual returns filed in 29 years, $38M owed to state
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, S.C. and Mike McCormack, President of the GHRA
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, S.C. and Mike McCormack, President of the GHRA

–GHRA flagged by AG Chambers, questions continue to loom over financing, legitimacy of the organisation

THE chambers of the Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, S.C., on Tuesday, said that the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) owes the State $38,649,600 for failing to apply for continuance under Part IV, Division B of the Companies Act.

In a release, the chambers said that the “defunct” GHRA which has been “masquerading” as an exemplary civil society organisation, continues to deceive the nation as it relates to its legitimacy.

“Contrary to the organisation’s claim of having all its “ducks in a row” the company has not been in good standing for nearly three decades,” the release said.

In a press statement dated March 20, 2023, the organisation stated that it had all its “ducks in a row as far as routine legal and financial matters are concerned.”

This was in response to a statement penned by the Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, who exposed the organisation as a sham and highlighted its partisan practices.

“…records prove that the organisation, which was incorporated on the 27th of September 1979, is not in good standing for failing to file its annual returns since incorporation. The company has failed to apply for Continuance under Part IV, Division B of the Companies Act and therefore owes the State some $38,649,600,” the AG’s chambers said.

Section 336 (1) of the Companies Act states that every former-act company shall within two years after the commencement of the Act (a) apply to the Registrar for a certificate of continuance under this Act; and (b) comply with the requirement of section 9. The commencement date of the Companies Act is September 27, 1991.

In accordance with Section 342 of the Act, when a former-act company fails to apply to the Registrar for a certificate of continuation within the time limited therefor under Section 336, then, after expiration of that period (a) the company may not, without leave, sue in any court but may be made a defendant to a suit; (b) no dividend shall be paid to any shareholder of the former-act company; and (c) every director or manager of the former-act company shall be liable to a penalty of $600 a day for each day during which the former-act company carries on its undertaking thereafter.

From the date of failing to apply to the Registrar for a certificate of continuance to end-February 2023, 29 years and five months would have elapsed.

From the time of its incorporation, the company has had six subscribers. As such the chambers calculation of the penalty for GHRA is as follows:
6 subscribers x $600 per day = $3,600 per day for all subscribers
$3,600 x 365 days per year = $1,314,000 penalty for one year
$1,314,000 x 29 years = $38,106,000 for 29 years
October 2022 (31 days) – $3,600 x 31 = $111,600, November 2022 (30 days) – $3,600 x 30 = $108,000, December 2022 (31 days) – $3,600 x 31 = $111,600, January 2023 (31 days) – $3,600 x 31 = $111, 600, February 2023 (28 days) – $3,600 x 28 = $100,800
Total = $38,649,600.

For context, according to Section 25 (6) of the Act, a former-act company is one that was (a) incorporated under Part I of the former-Act; (b) registered pursuant to section 16 of the former-Act; or (c) incorporated or registered under the Companies Ordinance, 1864 or 1898.

Meanwhile, ‘former-act’ means the Companies Act immediately in force before the commencement of the Companies Act which commencement is dated September 27, 1991.

“The delinquent state of this organisation further reinforces the government’s position that it neither has the legitimacy nor moral standing to pass judgement of any type on any given issue as it arrogantly does,” the release said.

The Association, which is headed by its self-styled President of GHRA, Mike McCormack, is currently under scrutiny to bring to light its directors, reports from annual general meetings, accountability for money and other matters relating to general operations.

Previously, when contacted by the Guyana Chronicle, McCormack claimed he would not name the current directors, stating that he could not remember the names.

He also said that he wanted to protect the directors and requested that the Guyana Chronicle find a published report done three years ago that listed the directors.

McCormack had been called out by Dr. Singh for taking a biased stance against the PPP/C government over the years, while giving the APNU+AFC a pass on national issues.

The GHRA had issued a press release, calling for a pause of the e-governance programme and for it to be submitted to Parliament.

The Ministry of Finance believes that the GHRA’s contention is another show of the association’s politically partisan advocacy, and selective inflections.


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