As the Government continues to defend its decision to place the US$18 Million signing bonus from ExxonMobil in a special Bank of Guyana account, Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan is assuring that the money will be transferred to the consolidated fund when its special purpose is activated.
President Granger has indicated that it was his decision to place the money in the special account. He said that decision is based on issues related to national security.
News Source understands the government intends to use the money for legal bills related to taking the border controversy with Venezuela to the international court.
In an interview distributed by the Department of Public Information, Finance Minister Winston Jordan explained that “the US$18 Million is in a special account at Bank of Guyana and it is there because it is designed for a special purpose. Whenever that special purpose is activated the monies will go into the Consolidated Fund. We will come to the Parliament here and get a supplementary budget to pay whoever we have to pay, whether its lawyers, researchers, map drawers, whatever by way of consultancy services and it will pass out back through our estimates”
Mr. Jordan further explained that when the US$18 Million is going into the consolidated fund, the foreign currency will be sold to the Bank of Guyana and that will increase the bank’s US dollar reserves, “and the Bank of Guyana will credit our consolidated funds with the equivalent in Guyana dollars”.
He said all of the transactions will be highlighted in the Government’s accounts unlike what was done with the CGX funds when that oil company paid over US$10 Million to the Attorneys who represented Guyana in that maritime border case against Suriname under the previous government. The Finance Minister said although the company paid the money directly to the Attorneys dealing with the case for Guyana, it should have still been recorded in Guyana’s accounts since the money was being paid on Guyana’s behalf.
The Opposition has lashed out at the Government and its secrecy surrounding the money being paid from ExxonMobil to the Government account at the Bank of Guyana. The President said he did not believe the issue should have been public at the time and his decision not to disclose was not one to deceive.