As a scandal grows over the surreptitious attempt to cut disputed ExxonMobil costs, chartered accountant and attorney Christopher Ram has flayed the Ministry of Natural Resources for stating that the GRA is the competent authority to lead petroleum audits.
In a letter that appears in today’s edition of Stabroek News, Ram said that It would be perfectly understandable if the public is totally confused over the issue of the IHS Markit audit of the expenses claimed by Esso, Hess and CNOOC for the period 1999 – 2017. He noted that various reports in the media suggest that the UK firm contracted to audit the costs reported by the consortium found that they were overstated by US$214m.
He also noted that Stabroek News of September 16 reported David Patterson, shadow Oil and Gas Minister, as being told in a formal meeting with Alistair Routledge, the ExxonMobil-led consortium’s spokesman, that the figure had been whittled down US$3m. On the other hand, he noted that this newspaper had also reported Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo as stating that the disputed figure had been reduced to US$11m.