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Outstanding money already paid for shares in GTT

The headquarters of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), Barrack Street, Kingston, Georgetown.

The headquarters of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), Barrack Street, Kingston, Georgetown.

The balance of payment of a hefty US$5M owed by a Chinese company for the sale of shares at telecoms company Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT)  has already been paid off.

This is according to sources close to the recent trip to China by Minister of State Joseph Harmon to ascertain the position of that payment.

It is unsure when the Chinese company would have paid off the US$5m owed on the shares, but according to reports the sum was never accounted for. Then Head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL), Winston Brassington had said that diplomatic and legal options had been explored to get the Chinese  company, Datang Telecom Technology and Industry Group, to pay the outstanding sum.

An official release from the Ministry of the Presidency said that Harmon and in-house Legal Counsel at NICIL, Natalia Seepersaud, made the official trip to the People’s Republic of China for the purpose of engaging in discussions with Datang regarding the US$5 million balance owed for the purchase of 20 percent of the GTT shares.

The Chinese company had made the purchase from NICIL in 2012, entering into agreement with the then People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration. The total cost of the GTT 20 percent shares was said to be US$30million but only US$25million had been paid.

Catherine Hughes, Minister of Public Telecommunications, could not immediately provide information on the matter since she said she was out of the country and was not privy to the information. When asked, the minister suspected that the matter would be discussed at Cabinet given its importance.

“I was out of the country and not privy to any information involving the shares,” Hughes informed. “I guess given its importance, it could be up for discussion,” the Minister agreed.

An audit report recently concluded on NICIL suggested that the former administration had sold out certain state assets that financed the construction of the controversial Marriot Hotel. The forensic audit conducted by former Auditor General (AG) Anand Goolsarran into the construction and operationalisation of the Marriott Hotel revealed that for the period of 2010-2013, NICIL’s financing of the Marriott Hotel totaled $5.371 billion, which included among other state property, the US$25million earned from the sale of the GTT shares.

Harmon’s team to China is expected to submit their report to the Board of Directors of NICIL for deliberations. A full public statement is expected later.

  • Emile_Mervin

    Oh crap! This is an erupting volcano! Run for your lives, your wives and your knives!

    So all along, we have been hearing and reading that the outstanding balance of US$5M was never paid off by the Chinese business that bought the 20% GT&T shares.

    Then Joe Harmon travels to China to find out when we are going to be paid, only to be told the money was already paid, while Winston Brassington kept saying nothing was paid.

    So who is lying, the Chinese or Brassington or Harmon? Did Harmon have to travel to China to learn the money was already paid? Couldn’t an e-mail or text or phone call have done the same thing?

    • KassemB

      ‘So who is lying, the Chinese or Brassington or Harmon’
      May be none
      You can always argue that for security reasons a dummy was provided

  • rudeo

    hilarious…..rolling on the floor with shrieks of laughter

  • Emile_Mervin

    Mike,

    Even funnier is the fact that, just like how Harmon secretly appointed BK business advisor in January, Attorney General Williams secretly agreed to pay BK US$5M to settle BKs claim of US $300,000+ in unpaid monies for the Haags Bosch dump site. That’s right, BK claimed one small amount from the PPP regime but the coalition gave him US$5M. WHY?

    Was the US$5M that Harmon and company went to China for as outstanding balance on GT&T shares really wind up in BKs pocket? I ask because we are now hearing for the first time this week that the Chinese said they already paid the outstanding balance. Didn’t Harmon know this before his long trip to China?

    And what about the unpaid balance the Chinese owe BK for real estate lands he got from the PPP government and sold to Baishanlin?

    There is a lot of stuff going on with this BK character that is raiding red flags over the coalition.