Dec 14, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – The governing People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) administration continues to portray an unmoved attitude to the calls from the local media corps and global transparency bodies for an international probe into the suspicious giveaway of the lucrative Kaieteur and Canje Oil Blocks.
In this regard, Oil and Gas Consultant, Dr. Jan Mangal is of the strong view that the PPP/C will make no move to remedy the suspicious awards of the nation’s prime assets.
“Why would the same people who gave away these two blocks now behave differently and remedy the situation,” Mangal told Kaieteur News in an invited comment.
The PPP furthered showed how unmoved it is by those calls, when it rehired former Natural Resource Minister, Robert Persaud as Foreign Secretary in spite of the concerns of the role he played in the awards. As this paper reported, the awards of the Kaieteur and Canje Oil Blocks breached every known international best practice and were riddled with red flags.
The Canje Block was awarded by the Donald Ramotar administration on March 4, 2015 weeks before the elections to local company, Mid-Atlantic Oil & Gas.
The Kaieteur Block was awarded April 28, 2015 – just two weeks before the elections – and like Canje – on the advice of former Minister of Natural Resources, Robert Persaud. Two companies received the block with 50-50 stakes- Ratio Energy Limited (now Cataleya Energy Limited) and Ratio Guyana Limited.
The red flags which have manifested in both situations include that the awards were given to unqualified companies, that the initial owners quickly flipped the blocks without doing any work, that they are incorporated in secrecy jurisdictions, and that Guyana likely lost revenue due to the avoidance of an open, competitive bidding process.
And even with anti-corruption watchdog Global Witness showing too that the blocks were awarded under suspicious circumstances, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo told this paper that he does not believe any laws were broken, nor is there any evidence of corruption.
With all the evidence in the public domain, Dr. Mangal believed that the awards should have been rescinded, a long time ago. In fact, Dr. Mangal explained that former President David Granger had enough power to do so during his tenure.
But instead, Granger launched an investigation into the awards, with the former State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) taking the reins.
“I felt the investigation was not needed as there was already sufficient information in the public domain to justify the rescinding, and there was already sufficient information in the public domain for the President to act executively. Unfortunately, President Granger did not rescind the Canje and Kaieteur Blocks, and thereby missed a huge opportunity for Guyana,” he stated.
Mangal pointed out that he had “not much confidence” in the agency’s ability to conduct the investigation.
SARA’s probe got nowhere after it was discovered that the lead investigator, Eric Phillips was listed was still an active member of a company with a pending application at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) for an offshore block. He later resigned.
Was Jagdeo honest when he made those promises?
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