The petroleum sector is one that is often plagued by corruption. As such, Head of Transparency International Guyana Inc. (TIGI), Dr Troy Thomas, says it is necessary that the State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA) sets a high standard of accountability by probing the controversial US$18M signing bonus government received from ExxonMobil.
It was in late 2017 that the media exposed how the government quietly received the signing bonus but kept it out of the Consolidated Fund.
During an exclusive interview today, Dr Thomas recalled that when the Institute learned of the matter, TIGI lodged a complaint with SARA on May 14, 2018.
One year later, SARA has taken no action on the complaint nor the call by TIGI for an investigation.
Dr Thomas, who registered his disappointment in this state of affairs, insisted that SARA has no reason to not investigate the issue. He stressed that SARA should not only be interested in investigating matters of the past, such as the sale of Pradoville Two lands to former PPP Government Ministers and affiliates, but also those matters which come under the new administration.
“We should not wait until the entire country starts suffering to then start an investigation. The ultimate issue is that these state funds are being kept out of the Consolidated Fund and we are hearing all sorts of things about why it is being kept out of that Fund. Also, we did not know until the media exposed it. We think it is right that SARA, as the recovery agency, investigates that matter…It should be a priority for them,” expressed the TIGI Head.
Dr Thomas stressed that the investigation of this matter will demonstrate Guyana’s willingness to address any irregularity that arises in the sector.