Apr 22, 2016 News
…Datang or Hong Kong Golden Telecom
More controversy now surrounds the sale of the 20 percent shares that the Government of Guyana held in the
Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT).
There are now claims that Government did not sell the shares to Datang Telecom Technology and Industry Group as was announced before.
In fact, former President Donald Ramotar in a statement issued yesterday, reported that the shares were sold to Hong Kong Golden Telecom Limited for US$30M.
This name is contrary to what Winston Brassington, head of National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited, announced soon after the sale in 2012.
He announced that the shares were sold to Datang Telecom Technology and Industry Group. He said that Datang still owed US$5M which it promised to pay over a two-‘year period.
In the statement yesterday, former President Donald Ramotar said that the new government is hiding the truth on this issue in order to distract Guyana from the controversy surrounding the recent trip the embattled Minister of State Joseph Harmon made to China.
Ramotar said that he is “very suspicious” about the timing and “sudden claim” that the US$5M owed to the Government of Guyana for its sold shares in GTT was paid to entities/persons other than the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL).
He said that the claim by the APNU/AFC Government that the US$5M was received by the previous government “is a lie.”
The former President challenged the Granger administration to present the purported “documents” it has received—”under suspicious and questionable circumstances—so that the veracity of the evidence can be tested and authenticated.”
Ramotar said that Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, lied when he told the media on Wednesday that the balance of US$5M was paid, “conveniently, prior to the May 2015 elections.”
“This is not true! Under my presidency, the 20 percent GT&T shares sale transaction was executed between NICIL and Hong Kong Golden Telecom Limited for the total price of US$30M.
“It was never hidden that the US$25M was received and that the purchaser was given two years to pay the balance of US$5M. It was also publicly disclosed by NICIL that efforts were being made to pursue legal recourse in the UK to collect the outstanding balance,” said Ramotar.
The former President said that the PPP/C administration never had any reason to doubt the “NICIL’s competent technical staff when they said that the amounts were outstanding and every effort was being made to pursue.”
On Wednesday, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman told the media, “What I can say is that Mr.
Harmon has been able to retrieve some documents which tell a different story. That story being, of course, that the US$5M was paid so we are trying to track down to whom, how and where and when… That is before May 16, 2015,”
Ramotar said yesterday that any claim that amounts were paid, would not be hard to prove. He said that the only entity that was and is authorized to receive any monies from the purchaser for this transaction was NICIL.
“One would assume that had NICIL received this money then there would be a receipt or some form of banking documentation to show its payments. Any claim that some other entity or person received this money would also be easy to prove or disprove.”
Ramotar is contending that the government’s “insinuation” that the money was paid, but not to NICIL, and that this was done before the change of government “is a distraction from the real issues.”
The PPP stalwart said, “Its (APNU+AFC) belligerent claims of massive corruption under the PPP/C administration have yet to be proven…This latest claim is an expected APNU/AFC political ploy to appeal to peoples’ emotions rather than seeking the truth.”
Ramotar said that the claim is designed to digress from answering the people’s demands for explanations on issues surrounding Harmon’s trip and to avoid the “naming of the ‘honorific’ advisors and party contributors.”
Harmon upon his return from China had said, “The purpose of the visit was to engage in discussions with regard to the payment of the said US$5 million owed for the 20 percent of GTT shares by Chinese company, Datang Telecom Technology and Industry Group from NICIL in 2012.
Harmon’s statement reflected that indeed the money was outstanding.
In the audit report he conducted into NICIL, Anand Goolsarran said nothing about Datang. He said, “NICIL sold the Government’s investment in GT&T in 2012 to Hong Kong Telecom for US$30 million of which the sum of US$25 million was received. The balance of US$5 million was to be paid within a period of two years. As at 31 December 2014, this amount remained outstanding.” (Abena Rockcliffe- Campbell)
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