5 firms shortlisted to conduct cost oil audit – Statia

first_imgOil and gas sector– Canadian consultant to help GRA build capacityBy Jarryl BryanA total of five audit firms have been shortlisted from a pool of 14 applicants vying to conduct audits into the over US$400 million in cost oil claims submitted by oil giant Exxon Mobil to the Government.This was revealed by Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Commissioner General Godfrey Statia during a recent press conference in which he provided updates on prior year matters and the Authority’s efforts to build capacity for the oil sector.He referenced the World Bank US$35 million Development Policy credit to Guyana, noting that money from this will enable the Government to procure the services of the accounting firm to do the cost oil analysis. Statia also revealed that Exxon has been co-operating with the Authority.“We have so far shortlisted five of those firms, out of 14,” Statia said. “It has since been sent back to the World Bank and they should send in their proposals and we should pick one of those proposals and we move ahead. In the meantime, I want to assure you that we have been getting information that we requested from Exxon on a quarterly basis.”“And we’ve been getting information going forward. They’ve been estimating their information going forward. That information will allow us to see their rate of return and whether there should be some tweaking and the emphasis we should put on some of these issues.”When it comes to developing the administrative capacity for oil and gas at GRA, Statia revealed that a Canadian expert in the area of petroleum taxation will be brought on board to assist.“I’m happy to say that we have been able to procure the services of an expert, who was in charge of the Canadian Revenue Authority oil and gas operations. He’ll be here for the next two years, for a maximum of 30 weeks every year.”“He would be in charge of building that capacity based on what we would have had to do. So basically we’re going to spin that off, from the large taxpayers unit and we’ll have a full-fledged oil and gas unit,” Statia said.Cost oilAfter its 10th discovery of oil in the Stabroek Block, ExxonMobil has estimated the recoverable resource in the block to be 5 billion oil-equivalent barrels. At US$50 a barrel, that equates to well over US$200 billion. In addition, an independent assessment, or competent persons report, had found that 2.9 billion barrels of oil existed in the Orinduik block.Exxon is expected to use revenue from its production in order to recoup its capital investment. Whatever remains of this is the “profit oil” Guyana will have to split with the oil company and its associates.According to Annex C of the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) Guyana signed with Exxon, pre-contract cost “shall include four hundred and sixty million, two hundred and thirty-seven hundred thousand and nine hundred and eighteen United States Dollars (US$460,237,918) in respect of all such costs incurred under the 1999 Petroleum Agreement prior to the year ended 2015.”last_img read more

3 escape from Lusignan Prison

first_img…security ranks were clearly not alert – Director of PrisonsA manhunt is underway for three prisoners, who escaped from the Lusignan Prison in the wee hours of Monday.The men reportedly scaled the perimeter fence about 04:30h.The escapees are 23-year-old Travis Evans of C Field Sophia, Greater Georgetown; Sudesh Dyal, 23, of Wales Backdam and Dexroy Pollard, 29, of Wales Village. Evans is a murder accused.Acting Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels has since confirmed that of the three who escaped, one was incarcerated for murder. Evans is reportedly the murder accused. Pollard was convicted for breaking and entering and was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment while Dyal was on remand for breaking and entering.At a press briefing on Monday, Samuels explained that the escapees scaled the fence between towers three and four which were equipped with security personnel.He related that there were also five prison officers and Police ranks in close proximity to the area where the men escaped. Nevertheless, he stated that about 06:25h on Monday, he received a telephone call informing him that there was a prison break.He noted that he immediately put into operation the Standard Operational Procedure (SOP), which is to review relevant Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage and to conduct a physical muster. It was while reviewing the footage, he came to the conclusion that the ranks on duty were not alert.Samuels explained that the three men took a considerable amount of time to make their way through the razor wire. “It is clear, especially taking into consideration the close proximity of the two towers and the number of ranks deployed in those two towers that those ranks were not alert,” the acting Prisons Director stated.He added that together with the Police, search parties were deployed to several areas, including locales in Regions Three and Four. Those searches, he related, have come up empty. Nevertheless, Samuels noted that they were making every effort to recapture the three men.No info on escape plotWhen questioned, Samuels told media operatives that they did not receive any information that the three men were planning to escape, although they would receive information from time to time that inmates were planning to escape, and those reports were taken seriously.“I must say together with the other head of services, we would have carefully reviewed that previous escapes from that facility and as a result of that, we would have made significant adjustments in terms of deployment, the quality of staff, the number of staff that is being deployed and the hours they are deployed, all with the aim that they are alert while performing their duties,” Samuels stated.With respect to questioning the ranks who were on duty when the prisoners escaped, the acting Director of Prisons explained that they were interrogated, but they said “little if anything”. He also believes that there was no collusion between the three men and ranks on duty, stressing that it was clear that the ranks were not vigilant.Private Sector concernedThe Private Sector Commission (PSC), in a letter to Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, indicated its concern on a number of issues affecting the prisons in Guyana and, by virtue of this, public safety in the country.The Commission noted that in a recent meeting of the Management Board of the Prisons, it was highlighted that there was a general lack of adequate security at all of the prisons, a lack of fire prevention systems, the lack of transportation to enable movement of prisoners and food where necessary, and the inadequacy of the current complement of prisons to safely house the prison population.“The matter of security, for instance, presents a clear and present danger to the prison warders and the public at large. Another burning issue is the lack of fire prevention systems in the prisons, most of which are constructed of wood. The Private Sector Commission is concerned that after two devastating prison fires, resulting in loss of lives and the escape of dangerous criminals, enough is not being done to prevent further fires,” the letter stated.It further stated that while the Commission is concerned about the safety and security of the public, it is also disturbed by the less-than-humane conditions under which the prison population at the Lusignan Prison is housed.The Lusignan Prison is located on the East Coast of Demerara with more than 300 prisoners.The Prison was used as a holding facility with several holding areas after the July 2017 fire at the Camp Street Prison. During that fire, several high-profile prisoners had escaped. The others were dispatched to correctional institutions across the country, including Lusignan.However, 13 prisoners had escaped from the facility by digging a hole under the perimeter fence. The hole was about five feet in length and another five feet deep.Those who had escaped were murder accused Clive Forde, Pascal Smith, Kerry Cromwell, Odel Roberts, Kendell Skeet, Rayon Jones, Jason Howard, Shawn Harris, Paul Goriah and Jamal Forde, along with Teshawn McKenzie and Winston Long, who were incarcerated for armed robbery and Jamal Joseph, who was remanded on an attempted murder charge.Paul Goriah, whose last known address was given as Grove Squatting Area, East Bank Demerara, was the only person who was not recaptured.Just a few months ago, Samuels in a press briefing related that the hunt was still on for Goriah and another prison escapee, Cobena Stephens, who escaped on July 9, 2017 following the fire at the Camp Street Prison.Stephens’ last known address was given as Lot 82 Gopie Street, Middle Walk, Buxton, ECD. (Bhisham Mohamed)last_img read more