Apr 29, 2016 News
– Company’s statement contradicts Trotman’s
The controversy surrounding the sale of government’s 20 percent shares in the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph
Company (GTT) continues to grow.
National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited is now claiming that Guyana’s former Ambassador to China, David Dabydeen, facilitated a US$5M debt write off to the company that bought Government’s shares in GTT. However, the company said that it is still to confirm this information.
NICIL made this known via a statement it released to the media yesterday.
The company said that it issued the statement with an aim to bring clarity to the status of its attempts to secure the payment of the outstanding US$5M from Hong Kong Golden Telecom Company (HKGT).
The statement indicated that on August 24, 2012, NICIL and Hong Kong Golden Telecom Company Limited (HKGT) executed a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement (SSPA) for the sale of NICIL’s 20 per cent shareholding in GTT, as approved by the former Cabinet.
The SSPA provided for the Purchase Price of US$30M. The agreement was for US$25M to be paid on the closing date and the balance of US$5M to be paid on the completion date, which was defined as the second anniversary of the closing date.
NICIL sought to clarify conflicting reports regarding the identity of the contractual party to the SSPA. It said that HKGT was the contractual party to the SSPA. HKGT is a subsidiary of Datang Telecom International Technology (Hong Kong) Company Limited, which is wholly owned by Datang Telecom International Technology Co., Ltd., PR China.
Datang Telecom International Technology Co, Ltd. is listed as a second tier subsidiary in the Datang Group of Companies, said NICIL.
The company said that on November 8, 2012, US$25M was wired to NICIL’s foreign currency account held at Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited. The balance of US$5M became due and payable to NICIL on October 22, 2014 and, despite several written requests by NICIL, HKGT has still failed to pay the balance.
Kaieteur News understands that the SSPA was so constructed that should any conflict arise, Guyana or HKGT would have to petition the United Kingdom court.
NICIL said, yesterday, that in an attempt to avoid costly and lengthy adjudication of the matter in the English Courts, it requested the assistance of the Government of Guyana to encourage HKGT through diplomatic channels, to honour its contractual obligations. But that route apparently proved futile.
NICIL’s information, apparently received from the embattled Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, contradicts the information Minister Trotman received from the very Harmon and fed to the media.
Trotman, at a post Cabinet press briefing, had said that Minister of State Joseph Harmon had retrieved documents from his trip to China that purported to show that the money had been paid before last year’s general elections.
NICIL said, “Contrary to various media reports, NICIL has not received the outstanding US$5M and HKGT remains in default of the SSPA.”
“To NICIL’s knowledge, neither HKGT nor its related companies has alleged that the balance of US$5M was paid.”
NICIL said that what was alleged by HKGT was that following a series of communications with the former Guyana Ambassador to China, HKGT was assured that it was not required to pay the balance of US$5M. This was because the HKGT had not been granted the same minority protection rights enjoyed by NICIL—that is two, instead of one, representatives on the GT&T Board of Directors. HKGT alleged that it was initially promised two seats by the then government of Guyana.
NICIL said that HKGT also alleged that the decision to waive the US$5M was contained in a side agreement.
NICIL noted that it has not been able to verify the veracity of HKGT’s claim of waiver and has requested the assistance of the Government of Guyana to verify the validity of HKGT’s assertion and the documents they produced to support same.
The company said that a further press release will be issued at the end of the verification process.
Recently, former President, Donald Ramotar issued a statement about the sale arrangement. In that statement, he sought to debunk the allegation that the money was paid and that members of the PPP/C would have pocketed the sum.
In that statement, Ramotar said nothing about a possible debt write off. He did not even hint at such an agreement.
Also, NICIL’s Chairman Dr, Maurice Odle, had about two months ago, told Kaieteur News that the Purchaser was requesting additional seats as a ransom for the outstanding sum. At that point, he said nothing about a waiver.
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