Missing US$5M– as NICIL denies collecting outstanding moniesBy Jarryl BryanAfter years of back-and-forth, negotiations for the US$5 million owed by a Hong Kong company for the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T) Company shares it bought are expected to be completed by March of this year.In an interview with this publication, National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited’s (NICIL’s) CEO, Horace James, confirmed that talks are wrapping up. Optimistic of a March deadline for the negotiations to end, James strongly denied that NICIL had collected any of the outstanding money from Hong Kong Golden Telecom Company (HKGTC).NICIL CEO Horace James“Both parties set ourselves by the 15th March for everything to conclude. (So) we’re still in negotiations,” James related. “We await some recommendations, and we have to get approvals; but nothing has been signed between the two parties as yet. Only when everything is fully finalised and agreed… but nothing has been signed,” he explained.“Both parties have made recommendations how we ought to settle the matter. We’re reviewing, and the final decision will have to be made on that. We haven’t received anything. At least they say they will pay something, but we haven’t finalised anything. We’re hoping to get that signed off soon,” James told this publication.Last month, NICIL Chairman Dr Maurice Odle had informed this publication that an interim agreement between the state and HKGTC was in force. He had explained that the state entity was considering collecting the US$5 million in parts — US$3 million first, and negotiations would have continued for the remaining sum.The saleIn 2012, NICIL had disposed of its 20 per cent shares in the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph company in a sale to Hong Kong-based HKGTC to the tune of US$30 million. That company made a downpayment of US$25 million and the outstanding US$5 million was to be paid by October 22, 2014, but this was never done despite written requests from NICIL.Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, and NICIL Legal Counsel Natalia Seepersaud had subsequently travelled to China with the intention of collecting the money, but were informed that the money was already paid.Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman had later announced that Harmon was able to retrieve some documents which showed that the money was paid. But following the controversy this revelation sparked, NICIL later refuted that the money was ever paid.In the confusion that shrouded the transaction, it was even reported that a waiver of the payment was arranged with the Chinese company. This claim was promptly denied by former President Donald Ramotar.Initially, the Government had insinuated that the money was paid to someone else or some other entity other than NICIL prior to the May 2015 elections. But the former President Ramotar had such that such an insinuation is a distraction from “the real issues”, adding that the cantankerous claims of massive corruption under the PPP/C administration have yet to be proven.Meanwhile, former Executive Director of NICIL Winston Brassington in an invited comment on the matter had told Guyana Times he was unaware the outstanding monies were paid to NICIL up until 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$5M to have followed the same course,” Brassington said.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant He quickly established himself as a leader. “There’s not a selfish bone in his body,” said Waldie Brangham, a firefighter who has known Ruda for more than 30 years. “Everything he does is to promote someone else, or for someone else’s benefit. He’s a stellar leader. “The guys know, when Steve makes a decision, it’s a good one.” Ruda has been stationed throughout the city, from Northridge to South Los Angeles. He served as captain of Fire Station 39 in Van Nuys from 2002 to 2004 before moving to Hollywood. He’s received awards for bravery and valor, including a Medal of Valor in 1996 for exposing himself to gunfire to rescue a police officer who had been shot by a gang member. His inspirational messages stretch beyond the department. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he inscribed a message on a quilt to be sent to the Flight 93 National Memorial, honoring the passengers on the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. The organizers of the memorial used a phrase he wrote – “A common field one day, a field of honor forever” – to serve as its mission statement. Steve Ruda doesn’t see a huge difference between a priest and a fireman. Priests put out the fires in Hell, Ruda said. Firemen put out the fires on Earth. In front of an eclectic group of priests, nuns and firefighters, the Los Angeles Fire Department on Thursday honored Ruda, a one-time seminary student and 27-year veteran of the Fire Department, as its Firefighter of the Year. “Seminary taught me about service to others and being able to care for God’s children,” said Ruda, who lives in Northridge and commands the Fire Department’s Task Force 27 in Hollywood. “The foundation for what I do, I found in seminary.” Ruda graduated from Our Lady Queen of the Angels Seminary in San Fernando in 1970. Instead of joining the priesthood, he went to California State University, Northridge, to get a degree in journalism. After graduating from Northridge, he served three years in the Marines before joining the Los Angeles Fire Department. “In that second part, ‘a field of honor,’ he summed up how in an instant a common field became a field of honor forever,” said Debby Borza, whose daughter, Deora Bodley, was on Flight 93. “For him to be able to express that was truly remarkable.” Ruda was nominated for the Firefighter of the Year award by other firefighters and selected by the Los Angeles City Firefighters Association board. Although the award focuses on 2005, officials treated it more as a lifetime achievement award, stressing accomplishments from Ruda’s long career. “He’s done such an incredible job throughout his career,” said David Frelinger, the association’s president. “He’s ushered in so many young firefighters and helped them to develop.” Displaying one of his trademark traits, Ruda said he wanted to share the Firefighter of the Year award with all his colleagues. “You don’t just accept this award on your own actions,” Ruda said. “Those are actions you shared with other firefighters.” Josh Kleinbaum, (818) 713-3669 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!