Home / Politics / TIGI goes to court to force APNU+AFC to deposit US$18 signing bonus into Consol Fund

TIGI goes to court to force APNU+AFC to deposit US$18 signing bonus into Consol Fund

Transparency Watchdog, the Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc. (TIGI) has moved to the court to challenge the government to deposit the US$18M signing bonus it received from ExxonMobil into the Consolidated Fund.
In the application, which was filed by attorney Christopher Ram in the name of TIGI President Troy Thomas, is also seeking to have the government amend the 2018 budget estimates to include the US$18M.

The application argues that failure to do so is in violation of the Constitution and the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act.

The Opposition Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), during the last day of the budget estimates last year, had brought a motion before the House – seeking to have the government do the same – deposit the money into the Consolidated Fund and to revise the budget to reflect the US$18M.

However, the Speaker Dr Barton Scotland rejected the motion – allowing the government to continue to act in breach of the constitution and the laws of Guyana.

Opposition Leader Bharat Jagdeo had strongly condemned the decision of the Speaker, noting that if the budget is passed without the inclusion of the US$18M then it would mean acceptance of an illegality.

“If we were to pass these estimates as presented by the Minister of Finance we would knowingly agree to an illegality that is being perpetrated by this House. I can demonstrate clearly that it is illegal to withhold money received as revenue and not pay into the Consolidated Fund or any other Fund provided by the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act (FMA) 2003,” the Opposition Leader stated.

A hearing on Thomas’ application, which lists the Attorney General Basil Williams as the first-named respondent, is scheduled for January 15th.

The signing bonus from ExxonMobil was received by the government since 2016 and kept hidden in an account at the Bank of Guyana.

This was only made public following persistent efforts by the media which published documentation to prove that the US$18M was received.

Following months of denial, the government was forced to admit that it received the money and that some was intended to be used as legal fees in the border controversy while another set will be used for training.

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