Report on probe into ExxonMobil’s audit submitted to Cabinet – Dr Jagdeo
The Ministry of Natural Resources has submitted the findings of its investigation into ExxonMobil’s US$214 million audit.
General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, gave the update at a press conference at Freedom House on Thursday.
This comes approximately two weeks after the GS, following consultations with President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, called for a probe to ascertain the persons responsible for engaging Exxon on the cost-recovery audit.
He said, “As soon as that matter is completed at the cabinet level, the president will address it. But the report has been submitted to the cabinet, and discussions began earlier today. So, we are taking it seriously,” Dr Jagdeo said.
The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) was tasked as the only agency authorised to release and review the findings of the audit in relation to the country’s interest in the matter.
In auditing Exxon’s expenses from 1999 to 2017, the British Consultancy Group hired to perform the audit, IHS Markit, flagged a US$214 sum of questionable spending. This figure received a no-objection from GRA, and an indication to close the US$1.6B audit of Exxon’s expenses.
However, following this no-objection, it was revealed that a staff member of the Ministry of Natural Resource’s Petroleum Unit engaged ExxonMobil’s local subsidiary, formerly known as Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), in reducing the US$214 million to US$3 million.
At a previous press conference, Dr Jagdeo had stated that the government is in support of the Guyana Revenue Authority’s decision and that the ministry’s engagements with the subsidiary should not have happened. “Somebody has to give an explanation of how they engaged with Exxon and we have to have a policy with people who are at the technical level and who engage with executives, that they must seek explicit clearance from the Ministry and report back on the nature of the engagement” Dr Jagdeo had said.