President says only legal challenge or advice could result in transfer of US$18M oil bonus

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By Micheal Younge

President David Granger today refused to accept that his Government committed a criminal act when it failed to deposit a whopping $US18M dollars into the Consolidated Fund which it negotiated for on behalf of the people of Guyana and received from oil giant ExxonMobil as part of an amended agreement which would spell out the company’s scope of operations in Guyana.

President David Granger, at the year-end press conference hosted in the Rupununi Room of the Ministry of the Presidency

Instead, the President sought to further defend the actions of his Peoples National Congress-led A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change Government (PNC-APNU/AFC Govt) by claiming that he would not “knowingly” breach the laws of the country.

“Well. I do not accept it was illegal. I will not knowingly do something that is unlawful”, he said before saying “it has not been proven that a crime…we feel that where the money is located at the time would insulate from being misused or stolen.

He went further by seeking to spell out the only terms under which Government would consider rescinding its move and transferring the money from the special Bank of Guyana account and into the Constitutionally mandated Consolidated Fund.

“As I said it was put there for a reason and if we am advised by the lawyer that we are in breach of any regulations, we would comply with the ruling of any court or legal advice…we need it there and that’s why we put it there but the money is safe”, President Granger said as he appeared nervous during his response.

He declined to guarantee that officials in his Government would not be tainted or comprised and induced by the actions of the ExxonMobil as the company’s track record in other countries points to harrowing tales of bribery and corruption.

“God couldn’t confirm that his people wouldn’t commit adultery and people are still compromised after thousands of years”, the President reasoned before committing himself to doing everything under the law to safeguard the integrity of his Government and the future of the Oil and Gas industry.

“If any maleficence is reported to me and there are culprits, the culprits will be subjected to the process of the law”, he remarked.

He insisted that he was not aware of any body in his Government being compromised.

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