… questions on ‘missing’ USM could be answered – GoolsarranBy Edward LayneAnswers as to whether or not Datang Telecom Technology and Industry Group, the Chinese company whichAuditor General Deodat Sharmabought the Government’s 20 per cent share in the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT), actually paid over the US$5 million it had outstanding on the 2011 buyout could be found when the current “transaction audit” into the operations of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) is complete.Auditor General Deodat Sharma confirmed Sunday that the audit under his office has commenced, but declined to divulge any information.“Yes! The audit has commenced … I cannot divulge any details of the assignment …it is my policy not to speak about assignments,” Sharma told Guyana Times.Former Auditor General Anand Goolsarran who conducted the first phase of the forensic audit into NICIL had said that the audit he conducted only examined the general operations of NICIL and did look at the sale of the GTT shares; however, that was limited to the acknowledgement that the US$30 million transaction was conducted and as at December 31, 2015, US$5 million was still unpaid.He said this was corroborated in the Management Response from former Executive Director of NICIL, Winston Brassington.However, he noted that the transaction audit could provide key answers to the entire fiasco, including exactly when the monies were actually paid over.In 2011, Datang purchased Government’s shares in GTT at the cost of US$30 million; based on the agreement with the then People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration, the company paid off US$25 million and had two years to make the outstanding payment.The PPP/C had long maintained that the outstanding monies were not paid and after assuming office last year, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition undertook to recoup the monies; hence, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon’s recent trip to China.But, Government spokesman, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman told a post-Cabinet news conference Wednesday that based on documentation in the Government’s possession, the monies were paid long before the May 2015 General and Regional Elections.“What I can say is that Mr Harmon has been able to retrieve some documents which tell a different story. That story being, of course, that the five million was paid so we are trying to track down to whom, how, where and when,” Trotman revealed to reporters.Former President Donald Ramotar, under whose Government the deal was struck and executed, has since denied that the monies were paid, saying that the Government’s claim was “a lie”.“I challenge the Government to present the “documents” it has received (under suspicious and questionable circumstances) so that the veracity of the evidence can be tested and authenticated,” Ramotar stated.The former President had reasoned that if indeed the monies were paid, that would not be hard to prove since there must be documentation to that effect, adding that NICIL was the sole entity authorised to receive the payments.“One would assume that had NICIL received this money, then there would be a receipt or some form of banking documentation to show its payments. Any claim that some other entity or person received this money would also be easy to prove or disprove,” he reasoned.Brassington, in an invited comment, also denied having any knowledge of the payment, as at December 31, 2015.“If it was paid, then the seller can easily produce evidence showing this. Payments of this nature are transferred via the banking system (wire transfer) from one bank to another and easy to check and validate. Given that the first payment was wired directly to NICIL’s US dollar bank account in Guyana, I would expect the remaining US$5 million to have followed the same course,” he said.Brassington’s contract came to an end last year and was not renewed.Minister Trotman had indicated that after Cabinet and the Board of Directors of NICIL completed their examination of the document, it would be made public.Efforts to contact the current acting head of NICIL, Horace James proved futile, as officers at NICIL advised he was out of the country on vacation.Similarly, Guyana Times was told that the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr Morris Odle could not be reached since he was “travelling”.
A Grande Prairie man has pleaded guilty to voyeurism, in connection with a bathroom video-taping scandal. The Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune reports 30 year-old Blair Stouffer made the plea Wednesday in provincial court. A ten-year employee at the Q.E.II hospital, Stouffer is the second person to be picked up by police in the scandal, but the first to face formal charges. – Advertisement -The Herald-Tribune says he admits that he is the man seen in some of the footage, setting up the camera, in a bathroom at the Q.E.II hospital. Before its discovery, the camera captured 70 videos of three different victims. Stouffer has been suspended with pay from the hospital, and will be sentenced on October 30th. Also on Wednesday, the paper reports a Leduc area man pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm, in a deadly crash in October of 2007. Advertisement The Herald-Tribune says 36 year-old Daniel Cartier was behind the wheel, when his vehicle rolled on a gravel road southwest of G.P. 25 year-old Jordan Robinson was killed in the accident, while another female passenger suffered a broken neck. Cartier will be sentenced on October 27th. Read the Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune’s stories at http://www.dailyheraldtribune.com/Advertisement
Go back to the enewsletterThe Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) has announced its commitment to bringing more quality buyers from across globe, with 60% originating outside of Australia.In a first, all expressions of interest will initially undergo a rigorous and thorough vetting process from the AIME Hosted Buyer Manager to check preliminary suitability.Four months before the industry event commences (running 18–20 February), AIME 2019 has already confirmed over 200 quality buyers from across 32 different countries, with 42% having never attended AIME before.To qualify, all buyers must provide examples of budgets they manage, past events they have organised and details of scheduled events that will take place in the next five years. Additionally, they must pass up to four compulsory industry reference checks.Rendering of the new style of exhibitor stands for AIME 2019“Through rigorous curation, we are committed to bringing buyers and exhibitors from across the whole Asia Pacific so that AIME is reflective of the diversity and depth of the region. It’s about the right people, selling or buying, being on the show floor ready to do business,” said Matt Pearce, CEO, Talk2 Media & Events.The new vetting process also has added flexibility, allowing buyers to attend AIME 2019 in two ways; as either a Hosted Buyer or as a Pre-Registered Trade Buyer, both providing a clear and measurable return on investment.Rendering of the new style of exhibitor stands for AIME 2019 The Hosted Buyer Program includes a fully curated experience, return flights and 4–5-star accommodation, carefully located close to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Hosted attendees will be required to commit to 32 pre-scheduled appointments (PSAs) and attend all formal networking events, as well as Melbourne Convention Bureaus’ Uncover Melbourne Program.For a moderate fee, Pre-Registered Trade Buyers have the option to select the number of PSAs they wish to make, attend all the networking events and have the flexibility to attend one, two or three days at AIME 2019.For more details or to submit interest in attending AIME in 2019, visit aime.com.au.Go back to the enewsletter