Special Assistant at the State Asset Recovery Agency, Eric Phillips, has tendered his resignation from the body.
The resignation will take effect in the month of August.
The resignation comes in wake of revelations that Phillips served as a Director of the African Business Roundtable which has an affiliated company that applied for and was rejected an oil block.
Though that application and rejection came before Phillips started to work with SARA, the agency has found clear signs of a conflict of interest especially since SARA is now investigating the questionable award of oil blocks under the last PPP Civic government just before the elections.
Phillips was the most senior person on the investigating team and reportedly never disclosed the close ties he had with the organization that had its business affiliate apply for a block.
In a statement this morning, Mr. Phillips said he firmly believes that his resignation “is the best solution for both SARA and myself, and ultimately for the country.”
He said his resignation will protect the investigation, “which many want to see stopped”, and it will also allow SARA to address the issue of what information is being leaked or tampered with given that files associated with the issuance of oil blocks appear to not be safe.
According to Phillips, “the fact of the matter is that I was not actively involved in ABR Oil & Gas since 2016 but I was President of the African Business Roundtable until 2018. The African Business Roundtable is a business service orgainzation similar to the Private Sector Commission or the Guyana Manufactureres Association or the Chinese Business Association. The ABR Oil & Gas is a separate entity which apllied, like many other groups, for one of the remaining blocks in 2016. I was not involved in the application process as there was a separate Management Team responsible for that company”.
Today’s Stabroek News quotes the head of SARA, Professor Clive Thomas as saying that had Eric Phillips disclosed his ties to the ABR company, he would have simply been moved from the investigating team.
The SARA head has however made it clear that the investigations will continue.