According to Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, a thorough investigation should be conducted into the unauthorized relationship between ExxonMobil and a Ministry of Natural Resources employee.
The audit, which uncovers US$214 million in dubious expenditures by ExxonMobil’s local company from 1999 to 2017, should be completed, according to the Guyana Revenue Authority, the country’s primary tax agency.
However, it has since come to light that employees of the Natural Resources Ministry contacted the business on that expenditure. According to Jagdeo, the company submitted further evidence showing that US$214 million was spent and the dubious amount was reduced to approximately US$11 million and then US$3 million.
That engagement was not authorized as the government wanted the technical body, the GRA, to deal with the audit. Jagdeo said the government is now addressing the issue.
“We believe there should be a full investigation but we have not completed the audit, the ministry has to now write Exxon.
“… I believe also that we have to have a policy where people, at the technical level particularly, who engage with the oil and gas companies and executives, that they must seek the explicit clearance from the ministry and they must report back on the nature of every engagement,” Dr. Jagdeo said.
That policy, the Vice President explained, would be like a disclosure policy. He intends to propose it to the cabinet.
The audit under review dealt with ExxonMobil’s local subsidiary’s spending from 1999 to 2017. This audit is the first ever one conducted on cost claims by ExxonMobil Guyana Limited, previously known as Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), for the pre-production period
Though the government is now finalizing the audit and the US$214 million claims based on the GRA’s advice, Jagdeo doesn’t believe that the unauthorized engagement would influence any move to arbitration so Guyana can get back any money it is owed.