The State Assets Recovery Agency’s (SARA) probe of how former President, Donald Ramotar, signed away two key oil blocks to four inexperienced firms will benefit from international help. This was recently noted by SARA’s Special Assistant, Eric Phillips.
The official noted that SARA has connections with the Stolen Assets Recovery Initiative which is a partnership between the World Bank Group and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that supports international efforts to end safe havens for corrupt funds.
He reminded, too, that Guyana is under the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) umbrella, the only legally binding international anti-corruption multilateral treaty. Phillips said that connections with these bodies would be activated for the investigation.
The SARA official added that the agency has several mutual agreements with partners around the world which will also aid its work.
The official also sought to stress that in all its investigations, SARA is always receiving international help.
CANJE BLOCK OPERATORS
The company, to which former President, Donald Ramotar, signed away the Canje Block was Mid-Atlantic Oil and Gas. Then JHI Associates Inc. farmed in (or bought in) right after. The block was awarded on March 4, 2015 to Mid-Atlantic.
JHI was only registered in Guyana on May 4, and it bought into the block on May 15. It seems JHI was created from nothing as its archived website only started working and listing managers, including John Cullen, on June 10. The general election was on May 11, 2015.
According to documents held by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Secretariat, JHI was only incorporated on June 17, 2015, in the British Virgin Islands. This nation is under no obligation to provide countries like Guyana with tax information of companies registered there.
And even though Mid-Atlantic Oil and Gas was incorporated here on April 8, 2013, both companies were in one-on-one negotiations with the PPP government for the oil block one month before, — March 2013.
This means that the individuals behind the companies were asking for oil blocks without having a company being formed..
What is also significant is that the Canje block is the only asset that these two companies have to date. Additionally, JHI and Mid-Atlantic, which participated in Guyana’s EITI reporting process, failed to submit their audited financial statements for review.
JHI also failed to submit information on its beneficial owners. The EITI report lists Kamal Dookie as the beneficial owner of Mid-Atlantic.
THE KAIETEUR BLOCK
Ramotar awarded the Kaieteur Block to Ratio Energy Limited and Ratio Guyana on April 28, 2015. Both companies are registered at the same offices in Prashad Nagar and Gibraltar, Israel.
Ratio Guyana does not have a website but on the Kaieteur Block’s Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), a Ryan Pereira is signed on as the Company Secretary, Director and General Partner of the company.
Mr Ryan Pereira is a long time miner in Guyana with no track record in oil. Yet, the last government awarded him (Cataleya Energy) 50% of the block. He recently funded a project in the Rupununi for the Ministry of Natural Resources. He seems to have a close working relationship with past and present Ministry officials.
The Ratio duo’s only asset remains the Kaieteur Block. Not a trace of evidence can be found to prove that it has years of experience in the exploration of oil and gas. (SEE LINK FOR PSA : https://resourcecontracts.org/contract/ocds-591adf-2701587320/view#/pdf)
Ratio Energy, which also calls itself Ratio Petroleum, is chaired by Ligad Rotlevy. With the Kaieteur Block in hand in 2015, this Israeli company was able to capture three other blocks. In 2017, it was able to acquire rights in Suriname’s basin, specifically for Block 47. In June 2016, Ratio Petroleum was granted a licence to operate in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Ireland.
In October 2018, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and Ratio entered into a Production Sharing Agreement, for oil exploration in an offshore section of Philippines continental shelf, known as SC 76.
But Ratio does not have a track record of producing any oil in deep-water or anywhere, nor does it have the required assets to do so.
Of its four assets, Guyana’s Kaieteur Block is its largest. (SEE WEBSITE LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION: https://www.ratiopetroleum.com/en/about/ratio-petroleum/)
This newspaper understands that the Kaieteur Block operators did not submit their audited financial statements and documents regarding beneficial ownership for Guyana’s EITI report. The dates of incorporation for the two Kaieteur Block operators were also not provided to EITI. (See link for full report: https://gyeiti.org/wp-content/uploads/FinalGYEITIReport-FY2017.pdf)
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