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Nandlall challenges Govt over Signing Bonus

…US $18M fall within the category of “revenues or other monies” contemplated by Article 216 of the Constitution
A legal challenge have been filed in the name of former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Mohabir Anil Nandlall, challenging the Government as it relates to the US $18M received from Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited and Hess Guyana Exploration Limited, as a Signature Bonus.

The name respondents are the Attorney General, Basil Williams and Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan.

In the Application, the former Attorney General is asking for a Declaration that the deposit of the sum of eighteen million United States dollars (US$18,000,000) received from Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited and Hess Guyana Exploration Limited, as a Signature Bonus pursuant to Clause 33 of the Petroleum Agreement executed on 27th June, 2016, by and between the Government of Guyana and Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited and Hess Guyana Exploration Limited, into an account within the Bank of Guyana, designated in writing by the Minister of Finance and not in the Consolidated Fund, is contrary to and in violation of the letter and spirit of Article 216 of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and Section 38 (i) of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act, Chapter 73:02, Laws of Guyana and is accordingly, unconstitutional, unlawful and illegal.

Further, Mr. Nandlall is seeking an Order directing the Minister of Finance to forthwith transfer and deposit into the Consolidated Fund, the said sum.

Article 216 of the Constitution reads:

All revenues or other moneys raised or received by Guyana (not being revenues or other moneys that are payable, by or under an Act of Parliament, into some other fund established for any specific purpose or that may, by or under such an Act, be retained by the authority that received them for the purpose of defraying the expenses of that authority) shall be paid into and form one Consolidated Fund4

While Section 38 (i) of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act, Cap 73:02 reads:

(1) All public moneys raised or received by the Government shall be credited fully and promptly to the Consolidated Fund, except—
(a) moneys credited to an Extra budgetary Fund as stipulated in the enabling legislation establishing that fund;
(b) moneys credited to a Deposit Fund; and
(c) as stipulated in the Constitution.

(2) The Consolidated Fund shall be managed by the Minister or by an official in the Ministry to whom the Minister has delegated that responsibility”.

According to Mr. Nandlall, the said sum of eighteen million United States dollars (US$18,000,000) fall within the category of “revenues or other monies” contemplated by Article 216 of the Constitution as well as “all public monies” contemplated by Section 38 (1) of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act, Chapter 73:02, and accordingly, must be credited fully and promptly pay into and form one Consolidated Fund.

The matter will be heard before the Chief Justice (Ag) on the 13th day of March, 2018 at 1:30pm.

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