By Kiana Wilburg
Philanthropist and motor racing fanatic, Stanley Ming, envisions establishing a state-of-the-art shore base at Parika, East Bank Essequibo. It is projected to create hundreds of jobs for his Guyanese brothers and sisters. But he cannot accomplish this on his own.
While Ming has the land, he does not have the money hence his partnership with InterOil Group Limited, a company that is based in the United Kingdom. His joint venture partner has an extensive global presence. It has businesses in Dubai, Uganda, Cyprus, Malta and Angola.
Impressed with the firm’s global reach, Ming and his UK partner subsequently created and incorporated in April 2019, InterOil Guyana followed by the registration of ISIKA Shore base Inc. which will design and build the US$200M East Bank Essequibo shore base this year.
Independent research by Kaieteur News reveals however that this company Ming is in bed with one of many being investigated for corruption in Angola.
InterOil is one of several companies which worked with Angola’s highly mismanaged state-owned oil company, Sonangol. President José Eduardo dos Santos administration, Kaieteur News understands, allegedly stole billions o
f dollars on a yearly basis from Sonangol.
In fact, the former President had appointed his daughter, Isabel dos Santos, as Chairwoman of Sonangol in 2016. With her father’s connections and control over the state resources, Isabel became the richest woman in Africa.
Now that Angola is under new leadership, State prosecutors are going after the Angolan princess. They have since laid fraud-related charges against Isabel for mismanaging and embezzling funds during her 18-month stint as Chair of Sonangol.
Angola’s state oil company had contained US$57M in its account and by the time Isabel was done with it, only US$309 remained.
The current government is now pleading for international support to recover the stolen revenue while simultaneously investigating all the companies that have worked with Sonangol.
ANGOLA IS THE PROBLEM
Over the weekend, Kaieteur News contacted Christian Fascio, the Country Manager for InterOil Guyana and several queries were made about the parent company’s operations in Angola.
Fascio was keen to note that Angola is a problematic country while confirming that it is not just InterOil, but all the companies that dealt with Sonangol that are under investigation.
Kaieteur News had also informed Fascio that there were some online news reports which suggest that InterOil had more than an arms-length relationship with Sonangol. But he was quick to state that his company is the opposite of whatever is said about them.
The Country Manager also told Kaieteur News that while the news agency is free to publish what it wants, the company is entitled to engage its legal department should there be a news item that is written without proof.
‘I DID NOT KNOW’
Ming was also engaged over the weekend by this newspaper about the connections his joint venture partner has with Sonangol.
The former politician said, “From the time you told me about it, I questioned Fascio but he did not know anything about it because he did not work in Angola. He had to call the people in Europe and asked them about the Sonangol issue.”
He added, “My understanding, because I was listening in on some of the conversation, is that Sonangol is the Angolan state oil company and that company like every other big company of that nature has contractors all over the world including many of those who are here right now like Halliburton, Schlumberger, and the big guys that provide services to Exxon.”
Ming said that InterOil had a contract with one of the big international companies working for Sonangol. “And what Fascio was told is that InterOil Group is owed money by the contractor who hired them to work for Sonangol,” Ming said.
At the end of the day, the businessman said that InterOil cannot do anything without his “say-so” since he is the 51 percent shareholder. He confirmed however that InterOil has informed him that it is under investigation like many other companies.
Additionally, Ming was adamant that he knew nothing about how deeply InterOil may or may not have been involved in the operations of Sonangol.
“We checked as much as we could but we didn’t have the resources to check thoroughly…We did not go in depth about their connections to Sonangol and to what extent,” Ming added.
Kaieteur News found via its research that InterOil Angola was actually registered in 2005 with Sonangol and offers oil and gas services in strategic alliance with reliable and proven technical partners. Its core business involves managing support vessels in that country.
Ming told Kaieteur News that he intends to find out as much as possible about InterOil’s relations with Sonangol.
The businessman said. “I want them to come clean with me because I will not support dishonesty and my reputation is at stake. I am not into that kind of stuff. I told the Ministers and everyone since I met these guys that if you find anything that needs to be investigated then let me know…”
Ming said his dream is to have this shore base project become a reality and for Guyanese to “run the show.”
“But I maintain that I had no idea that they were being investigated for relations with Sonangol. It was a surprise to me when you told me about it,” the philanthropist concluded.
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