The Guyana Country Manager for ExxonMobil, Rod Henson, has confirmed that the company paid over a US$18 Million signing bonus to the Government of Guyana.
He said the money was paid over to a Bank of Guyana account which was set up by the Government of Guyana, noting that it was paid “not to an individual but to a government bank account designated by the Ministry of Finance.”
The signing bonus was paid sometime last year. The Government has been coming in for criticism over its silence on the signing bonus.
Initially, the Government said no signing bonus was paid, but rather it was money to assist Guyana in its border case against Venezuela.
The Exxon Manager said it was a signing bonus but his company has no say in what the government decides to do with the money. He reminded that as a commercial entity, Exxon would have no role in determining how Guyana should spend the money.
He said “in terms of transparency, though, disclosure of these terms is something that should be consistent across the industry instead of one company”.
The Government has indicated that it will be releasing the contract signed with Exxon before the end of this year. It had come under widespread criticism for not revealing the details of the contract.
Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman has said the release of the contract will be done as requested by many Guyanese.
This past weekend, Chartered Accountant and Attorney, Christopher Ram slammed the Government over its secrecy about the signing bonus. He said the President should apologise for that silence. He is adamant that the money should have gone to the consolidated fund instead of a Government of Guyana bank account.
Ram has threatened that private legal action could be filed against Government officials over that account.