Symposium addressing ‘corruption’ in the oil and gas industry opened

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With accelerated works and heightened interest ahead of commercial production come 2020, the Caribbean Institute of Forensic Accounting (CIFA) in collaboration with the Guyana Oil and Gas Association (GOGA) and the African Business Round Table will today commence a two-day symposium on oil and gas.

The confabs are slated to confront the vexing issues of public corruption and the “Oil Curse”, as well as lessons learnt from developing countries. The symposium comes amid public consternation over Government’s refusal to publicly release the contract it inked with giant US oil company, ExxonMobil, which has since been given its Production Licence.

Dr Perry Stanislas

Internationally respected publication ‘The Economist’ only recently questioned Guyana’s preparedness for the advent of commercial oil production come 2020.

According to the article captioned, “Will oil corrupt a small Caribbean state?” it was pointed out, “It will take better politicians to resist the corrosive power of petrodollars.”
The Economist concluded in its publication on Guyana, “The risk is that Guyana’s petrodollars will be squandered on more sugar subsidies and pay rises for the unproductive Public Sector.

The next election is due in 2020 just when the oil starts to flow. The victor could enjoy a well-lubricated quarter-century in office.”

It was also posited, “Guyana already had diamonds and gold, and little of that wealth was shared. Horse-drawn carts still weave through the Georgetown traffic. Large new gold mines under Australian and Canadian ownership have boosted export earnings and the tax take. But small, locally owned ones smuggle much of their output abroad, bypassing the taxman. State-owned sugar producers gobble subsidies. Cash will be tight until the oil starts flowing.”

The opening of the two-day symposium at the Guyana Pegasus Hotel, will deal with the ‘Ills of Public Corruption’ and the ‘Oil Curse’ and will feature eminent international presenters, including Dr Perry Stanislas, Leader of the Contemporary Issues in Police and Security Leadership and Management Programme run by Community and Criminal Justice Department at De Montfort University, United Kingdom.

Other panelists include Zalena Khan, Founder and Managing Partner of Zcloud LLC, a NetSuite Solution Provider Partner in the Caribbean and South America; Vicky McPherson, a shareholder in the Global Energy and Infrastructure Group and the Africa Practice Group at the international law firm Greenberg Traurig; and David Holukoff, Director of Grant Thornton, British Virgin Islands.

Other presenters to the packed two-day symposium includes Afra Rymond, a Professional Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Managing Director of Raymond and Pierre Limited; Dr Kennedy Mkutu, Associate Professor in International Relations, Peace and Security at USUI- Nairobi, Africa; Eric Williams, Principal Consultant and President of Royal Triangle Energy Solutions Limited (RTESL); and Stephen Baker, Senior partner at Baker and Partners, English barrister and Jersey advocate.

The symposium is slated to explore why the oil industry in the overwhelmingly majority of developing countries is associated with widespread corruption, procurement and other forms of fraud, institutionalised tax evasion, and a range of other ingenious means to steal government revenue.

Panel discussions will include the protection of sovereign interests and the avoidance of these typical pitfalls. Other topics up for discussion includes ‘The Misuse of Offshore Structures in Laundering/hiding the Proceeds of Illicit Payments in the Oil and Gas Industry’ and ‘How offshore trusts, companies and financial services are used to hide illegal payments, and best practices to prevent such payments’.

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