The coalition administration has every intention to audit the controversial US$460M pre-contract costs claimed by USA oil giant, ExxonMobil for exploratory works conducted from 1999 to 2015.
Providing this assurance today at Government’s post-Cabinet press briefing was Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson. The Minister went further to state that the Government will probe every single cost that is put forward for recovery by ExxonMobil.
The Minister was asked to state why the Government failed to conduct an audit of the figures before it was placed into the 2016 Guyana-ExxonMobil Production Sharing Agreement (PSA). Patterson said that it was “neither here nor there since we can audit at any time.”
The politician added, “Putting it (the US$460M) into the contract does not mean it is un-auditable.”
The Public Infrastructure Minister would be the first to go on record as clarifying the government’s position on the matter. This clarification was needed following Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman’s pronouncement that government audited the figures. Trotman’s utterance was later contradicted by Commissioner General of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Newel Dennison.
Opposition leader, Bharrat Jagdeo is just one of the many individuals who harshly criticized the government for its acceptance of the US$460M pre-contract cost without an audit.
At his most recent press conference, the former President said, “You know what surprised me? ExxonMobil said it is open to an audit and our government just put the figure in the contract without doing that first. Again, it comes back to the incompetence of our government…”
Jagdeo added, “They had no push back from Exxon. They (Government) didn’t even raise it (with the company). They (ExxonMobil) said US$460M and the government put it in there (the contract).”
The politician said that the government should have collected the bills from ExxonMobil, conducted an audit, and only expenses which were found to be fair and true should have been placed into the contract.
The Opposition Leader insisted that no figure should have been placed into the contract without an examination being done. He said that legitimate concerns have been raised about whether the sum represents justifiable expenditure.