Dr. Rudy Jadoopat, National Coordinator of the Guyana-Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GY-EITI), says that they are encouraging the government and companies in the sector to ensure that they disclose all payments as soon as possible.
Jadoopat was questioned by Stabroek News yesterday on the GY-EITI’s stance after the Ministry of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, admitted to concealing from the public a signing bonus of US$18M from ExxonMobil since last year.
EITI is a global group aimed at ensuring that all revenues earned are disclosed to the public. In this case, the Guyana Government withheld information on a US$18m signing bonus for over a year.
While Jadoopat stated that he did not want to say anything about the signing bonus issue, he said that the GY-EITI is encouraging the Government and Companies to disclose payments that are being made as soon as possible.
However, he explained, since the local limb of the International EITI only attained membership in October, they have not been able to gather all the resources and documentation that surrounds the extractive industry.
Jadoopat noted that the GY-EITI is currently in the process of preparing a report that will be submitted to the International headquarters in Norway. Jadoopat stressed that when the report is being compiled, which they have 18 months to do, they will receive relevant documents from both the government and other stakeholders that will be corroborated by an international accounting firm.
As a result, Jadoopat said, “It would not be easy to hide those (transactions)… because all the payments made to companies will become known to the public and this is one of the important values of the EITI.”
He added that all the information will also be released to the Guyanese public via their website or their office.
Despite the GY-EITI office being housed by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Jadoopat said that neither the Ministry nor Government dictates his actions, only the standards of the EITI that have been set by the international body.
“We would’ve found out in any case and it’s just that it is happening now but nobody can really hide these kinds of payments. I don’t think the government had any intention of hiding any payments and whether any money was received or not we do not have any documentation, we just have things that were said,” Jadoopat explained.
“We are more concerned about the report that we are embarking on. We would’ve picked it up and we are already in the process of putting the pieces together,” Jadoopat said, while adding that all information that is collected from the stakeholders will be made available to the public.
When questioned about the possibility of discrepancies in information supplied by government and companies, Jadoopat explained that the report and all documents will be scrutinized by the independent administration for 12 months in what is called the validation period.
“This starts after the first report is submitted and will continue for 12 months (and) is completely managed by the International EITI body to verify information in the report is accurate and verifiable,” he said.
He also explained that given that ExxonMobil is a publicly shared company, the payments would’ve been announced publicly, which would’ve been picked up eventually.