Tough penalties, including jail time for non-disclosure of oil revenues – VP Jagdeo

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Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo

The PPP/C Government is putting in place stiff measures, including robust legislation, that will seek to ensure that monies garnered from Guyana’s oil and gas sector will be channeled towards its intended purposes – development of the country and improving the quality of life for every citizen.

Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, made this disclosure Thursday evening, whilst appearing on Kaieteur Radio 99.1 FM.

The government, he said is working assiduously to minimise the contacts between politicians and oil companies, therefore the new administration will ensure that technical agencies are involved in the process.

According to DPI, Jagdeo explained that while intercessions will be performed from a policy perspective by a Minister or the Cabinet, all negotiations will be facilitated at the technical level.

“We want a process where the technical people must prepare negotiating briefs, they must go to the minister[and] that Minister has to seek clearance and it goes back to the technical people to peruse,” he was quoted by DPI as saying.

The Vice President posited that the government will implement legislation which will criminalise persons involved in the non-disclosure of revenues or receipts from oil companies.

“We made it clear that the Minister of Finance or the Secretary to the Treasury would have to gazette every cent collected from the oil companies, big or small… so that the country can read the official gazette and know how much we collected and in which month.”

Additionally, the Parliament will have to be notified within a specific time; and should they fail to carry out this order there will be a jail penalty.

Dr. Jagdeo reminded that once the monies are paid into the Sovereign Wealth Fund or the treasury it has to go through the budgetary and audit processes.

“The only reason people can steal money is when nobody knows how much money you have collected,” the Vice President noted.