Opposition preparing to join legal battle over US$18M oil bonus

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One week after a legal challenge seeking to have the US$18M signing bonus transferred by the Guyana Government into the Consolidated Fund was filed, the Opposition Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) has announced that it will soon join in the legal battle.

Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

This announcement was made at a press conference held earlier today (Friday) by the  party’s leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo,

Jagdeo also sought to debunk the government’s excuse for holding the funds outside the consolidated fund; that is, to pay legal fees for Guyana should it have to take its border case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The bonus in question was paid to the government’s Central Bank account by US oil giant Exxon Mobil in 2016.

The existence of this bonus and the renegotiated oil agreement with the company was kept a secret until evidence of the transaction was leaked in December 2017.

After mounting criticism, President David Granger defended the transaction by saying it was the thing to do at the time.

He also noted that the money was placed in an escrow account, though observers have disputed this.

Head of Transparency Institute of Guyana, Troy Thomas, took the government to court last week in his private capacity in relation to the said matter. He wants the court to grant orders directing Finance Minister Winston Jordan to deposit the US$18 million it received from ExxonMobil directly into the Consolidated Fund as is provided for in the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act (FMAA).

The funds at the centre of the controversy are currently sitting in a special account in the Bank of Guyana (BoG) upon the instruction of President David Granger after Finance Secretary Hector Butts wrote the Bank’s Governor in order to establish the account.

 

 

 

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