Despite numerous calls for Government to transfer the controversial US$18M signing bonus received from ExxonMobil and placed in a private bank account, to the Consolidated Fund, the Government remains firm on its position to keep the monies in that account for a bit longer.
State Minister Joseph Harmon on Wednesday said that Cabinet has not deliberated on whether to have the monies transferred yet, reiterating that there was a purpose for which these monies were not placed into the Consolidated Fund and that has to do with the border dispute with Venezuela.
“So we have to await a ruling from the United Nations (UN) Secretary General (António Guterres) on what he is going to decide. And according to our Minister of Foreign Affairs (Carl Greenidge) that will take place sometime during the month of January. That’s all I can say right now,” Harmon explained.
After admitting that Government had received a signing bonus from ExxonMobil and its partners more than a year ago and never disclosed this to the public, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman said that the bonus was intended to be used for legal fees pertaining to the preservation of Guyana’s territorial integrity, should its case with Venezuela reach the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
But when the oil contract was released to the general public, ExxonMobil clarified that the US$18 million bonus paid to the Government was meant to secure a 10-year extension of the renegotiated contract. ExxonMobil Country Manager Rod Henson made this disclosure when addressing the media at a press conference on the same day that the contract was released.