Govt rejects opposition’s oil bonus claims
─ “The account is a public account and therefore accessible to the Auditor General; signatories to the account are all public servants not government ministers” – Min. Jordan
─ account was never hidden
─ there is a transparent mechanism for transferring funds
DPI, Guyana, Monday, January 7, 2019
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan today slammed allegations made by Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), Juan Edghill that the US$18M signing bonus from US oil giant ExxonMobil was hidden for over a year.
Edghill made the statement in a letter to the press today.
According to Minister Jordan, the money was never hidden, as it was always in an interest-bearing account at the Bank of Guyana (BoG).
“The account is a public account and therefore accessible to the Auditor General; signatories to the account are all public servants not government ministers,” he said.
According to the finance minister, there is a transparent mechanism for transferring funds from the account to the Consolidated Fund then out to pay legal fees via the budget.
“So far, US$3.7M has been transferred, with a copy of the request to the transfer the funds sent to the Auditor General.”
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon last year had reported that the US$18M signing bonus would be placed in the Consolidated Fund before it is used to pay lawyers to fight the Venezuela border controversy case at the World Court.
“That bonus, wherever it would be placed into the Consolidated Fund and it is from that fund that any team whatsoever will be paid whether they are working or worked before or work after,” Minister of State, Joseph Harmon had said at a press conference.