Oct 13, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – JHI Associates, one of the owners of the Canje block, has so far avoided the supplication of vital details about the company, especially its beneficial owners. The beneficial owners are the people who ultimately control an asset, and benefit from its use. JHI has a 17.5 percent stake in the block.
The company just about sprung up for the purpose of owning the Canje block. Its website, a vague collection of pages on the internet, provides very little information about itself, save and except for its ownership of the block.
One of the reasons JHI has managed to stay so under the radar is due to its incorporation in the British Virgin Islands, which is a secrecy jurisdiction and tax haven. This is a major red flag for governments that prioritise transparency and mitigation of corruption risks.
Companies registered in jurisdictions like BVI have the fortune of withholding financial information from the public about their transactions, and owners.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer, the Canadian John Cullen would appear to set the country’s roots in the North American jurisdiction. Its website was created in June 2015, and has added bits and pieces of information over time. It claims it was formed in 2011, and expanded its core team to support Mid-Atlantic Oil & Gas in 2013 – the year the block was applied for. Mid-Atlantic is the first recipient of the Canje Block, and currently retains a 12.5 percent stake.
It is notable that one year before Mid-Atlantic received the block, JHI completed a “pre-license farm-in” with Mid-Atlantic in 2014, according to its website.
It is unprecedented that a company can “farm in” to a block even before the block was even legally signed away, since the host government would have to approve such a farm in.
Why this happened could be explained by exploring the multiple linkages between Mid-Atlantic and JHI, as expressed in yesterday’s article in this series. Mid-Atlantic’s sole shareholder, Edris Kamal Dookie, and Cullen have history together as the co-founders of CGX.
They also, along with another member of JHI (Scott Young) are owners of a company called Oyster Oil & Gas. While Guyana knows Dookie is the sole shareholder in Mid-Atlantic, revealing the beneficiaries of JHI will shed much more light on what happened with the Canje block.
It was recently announced that BVI will be creating publicly accessible registers of beneficial ownership for companies incorporated there, by 2023. By then, Guyana would have the opportunity to know who benefitted from the sale of its Canje block to ExxonMobil and Total.
Should Guyana wait for 2023 to find out who all the beneficiaries of the Canje block are?
More to come tomorrow…
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