Kerik contract worth US$100,000
Stabroek News
May 11, 2007

Related Links: Articles on government
Letters Menu Archival Menu

Government had agreed to pay former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik some $20M or US$100,000 for his consultancy services.

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds made the disclosure in the National Assembly yesterday in response to a question from People's National Con-gress Reform-One Guyana Member of Parliament, Winston Murray.

However since the Kerik contract was supposed to become operational on Feb-ruary 1 this year, Hinds could not say whether any money was used from the contract to pay Kerik for the period until he withdrew from the contract.

The prime minister requested time from the National Assembly to provide such information which he said he "did not know" at yesterday's sitting.

Hinds was also unable to say whether Kerik received any advance on the contract.

The embattled ex-New York City Police Commis-sioner has been forced to pull out of his contract as security advisor to President Bharrat Jagdeo because of the charges he may soon face in the US.

"[Kerik] said he doesn't want the country to be tainted," Jagdeo revealed at a press conference on April 11, adding that similar reasons were given for his decision to put off his involvement in Trinidad and Tobago.

US federal prosecutors are investigating Kerik in relation to several matters, including tax evasion and conspiracy to commit wiretapping. As a result, Kerik revealed too that he would not be returning to Trinidad until the investigations against him are dealt with. He also said he did not want his presence to lead to criticisms of the opposition United National Congress, which contracted his services to deal with the country's high crime rate.

President Jagdeo said Kerik maintained his innocence of the charges, but he desired to protect his clients from the likely fallout. "He said `this will all go away,'" Jagdeo reported, before explaining that "he would withdraw from the contract until the matter is resolved."

The President, however, assured that Kerik's decision would not affect the country's police reform process. He mentioned that the British government has submitted a proposal which he was at the time studying for reply.

Additionally, he said there are components funded by the country and the IDB not contingent upon Kerik's involvement.

Kerik was hired because of his experience as New York City Police Commissioner and the work of his security firm, the Kerik Group, which has held a number of security contracts in Jordan, Iraq and other Middle East hotspots.

But his hiring met with heavy criticisms here in light of the long-standing allegations about his conduct during his tenure as New York City Police Commissioner. Prior to the formal hiring by the President there had been intense criticism of the move and appeals not to involve Kerik in the reform of the police force because of his own legal problems and questions over his conduct. The parliamentary opposition parties - the PNCR-1G, AFC and GAP-ROAR - have recorded their objections to the hiring, and PNCR-1G MP Deborah Backer had called for the termination of the contract.

Kerik was President George W. Bush's nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security, but he withdrew his name from consideration for failing to pay social security taxes for his nanny. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani had endorsed the nomination but has since admitted that it was a mistake. Giuliani's association with Kerik is being seen as a major blow to his campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination, particularly after reports of impending charges against him.

Recently, the Washington Post reported that federal prosecutors are preparing to charge Kerik with violating federal tax laws, alleging that he did not declare on his tax returns gifts that he received while serving as New York's corrections commissioner, including costly renovations to an apartment he had bought. The FBI is also investigating loans Kerik received while he was in private business with Giuliani as well as information that he had omitted from a mortgage application.

In March, Kerik turned down an offer to plead guilty to federal charges that would have required him to serve prison time. The US attorney's office in New York City is also threatening to charge Kerik with conspiracy to commit illegal wiretapping in his dealings with the 2006 Republican candidate for New York attorney general, Jeanine Pirro.

Kerik has pleaded guilty to felony charges in New York State, where he admitted that he accepted nearly US$200,000 in gifts while a public official - including more than US$165,000 spent on renovations to his apartment. The money came from companies affiliated with a New Jersey outfit that federal authorities and state gambling regulators had linked to organized crime. In 2005, Kerik invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in refusing to answer questions before a New Jersey gaming regulatory body about his relationship to the people involved in the apartment renovations.