Signing bonus caseIn the matter relating to the signing bonus, an affidavit submitted to the court by Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams has been described as shameful.Opposition Leader, Bharrat JagdeoOpposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, who had a look at the document — which explains why the Government has kept the US$18 million signing bonus outside of the Consolidated Fund – has described it as nonsensical.“It is shameful that an Attorney General would be so unschooled in the financial laws of the country that he would subscribe to such an affidavit, or have his office send in an affidavit like that,” Jagdeo opined.Jagdeo, an economist and former Finance Minister, said he finds the explanation, which is filled with meaningless legal jargon, to be atrocious, and doing more damage than repair to the AG’s argument.He said, “It goes off in fairyland about definitions of the Consolidated Fund, and confuses it with Deposit Fund; and it makes absolutely no sense, based on what I read there.”The Opposition Leader has said he would like to see a specialist is hired to testify and clarify the issue.Jagdeo reiterated that his party feels there was a specific reason why the money was not placed into the Consolidated Fund. That reason is: so that the money is not audited by the Auditor General, and it could possibly get stolen.Attorney General Basil Williams“So while parts of it would have been used to pay a lawyer et cetera, we would have seen inflated bills and a whole range of other issues – expenditure that would have used up all the money,” Jagdeo explained.Jagdeo said that is the main reason why the Opposition, through its Member of Parliament, former Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, had filed a case in the High Court to have the money transferred into the Consolidated Fund.Shifting his attention back to the affidavit, Jagdeo said there isn’t any defence for keeping the money outside of the Consolidated Fund, and it therefore meant that something had to be said otherwise.In light of recent reports that the signing bonus that was placed in a private account at the Bank of Guyana (BoG) was reportedly removed, several senior Government Ministers have dismissed the claim.Local economist Ramon Gaskin said in a letter to the media that the Bank of Guyana’s financial statement was recently issued, and there was no trace of the signing bonus.Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, has also denied that the money was used, and despite the ongoing case, he said Government would take steps to have the money placed into the Consolidated Fund.“The signing bonus is monies that belong to Guyana, but that bonus — wherever it is — will be placed into the Consolidated Fund, and it is from that Fund that any team whatsoever will be paid,” he has stated.Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman has declined to pronounce on the matter, but told media operatives that there is nothing sinister afoot if the monies were to be moved.He said there is nothing untoward or sinister about monies from the signing bonus being used for the purpose for which it is intended, that is: to pay legal fees for the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy case.Government’s decision to deposit the signing bonus received from ExxonMobil into a private account is being challenged by Nandlall, who is contending that Government is in “breach of, and contrary to, the letter and spirit of Article 216 of the Constitution of the Republic of Guyana, and Section 38 (1) of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act, Chapter 73:02.”At the last hearing — on March 13, 2018 — timelines were given for the parties to file the requisite documents. Nandlall had to file an affidavit in reply on or before March 26. Thereafter, the applicant has to file the submissions before April 20, and the respondents have to file their submissions before May 11.The matter has been adjourned to June 14 for hearing or ruling.
The Indian tricolour was shown upside down in the official CWG video songIndia has hit the headlines for reasons other than sporting in the just-begun Commonwealth Games here after it came to light that the country’s flag was shown upside down in the official song for the 11-day event.The official song titled “Let the Games Begin” is also the Glasgow Children’s 2014 anthem for Unicef.The song features the flags of all the participating countries but the makers have blundered while showcasing the tricolour.India, who finished second in the medals in the previous edition of the event in Delhi, has sent a 215-strong contingent this time.The Games kicked off yesterday with a colourful opening ceremony here.
zoom Greece has selected the consortium comprising Deutsche Invest Equity Partners, Belterra Investments and Terminal Link as the highest bidder for the 67% stake in Thessaloniki Port Authority.Namely, the consortium submitted an improved financial offer for the acquisition of the stake as part of the respective international competitive process, Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) informed.The improved financial offer envisages payment of a consideration of EUR 231.9 million for the acquisition of 67% of shares in ThPA S.A.The total value of the agreement amounts to EUR 1.1 billion and includes among others the aforementioned EUR 231.9 million offer, the mandatory investments amounting to EUR 180 million over the next seven years and the expected revenues from the concession agreement for the Hellenic Republic, in an expected amount in excess of EUR 170 million.The total amount takes also into account the expected dividends receivable by the HRADF for the remaining 7.22% shareholding as well as the estimated investments until the expiration of the concession in 2051.“The above development signals a new era for the Port of Thessaloniki, the prospects of economic development of Northern Greece and the country as a whole,” HRADF said.“A file relating to the tender process will be submitted to the Court of Auditors in the coming weeks for a pre-contractual review of the legality of the process; the share purchase agreement (SPA) will be signed, following the Court of Auditors’ approval,” the fund added.The completion of the transaction is subject to the competent authorities’ approvals and the satisfaction of certain further conditions provided for the share purchase agreement (SPA).After it received three bids for the sale of a 67% stake in Thessaloniki Port Authority, Greece asked the interested companies to submit improved financial offers in early April.The earlier three binding financial offers, submitted on March 24, came from International Container Terminal Services (ICTS) from the Philippines, the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, a DP World company, and Germany’s Deutsche Invest Equity Partners GmbH together with Belterra Investments LTD and Terminal Link SAS.Thessaloniki Port Authority, the second largest port in the country, is being privatized under the same terms as its counterpart Piraeus, the majority stake of which was officially acquired by China’s port operator Cosco Group (Hong Kong) Limited in August 2016.The privatization processes of the country’s two ports were launched in 2014.
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