RSM Production Company (RSM) president Jack J. Grynberg (L) and Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony
By Caribbean News Now contributor
WASHINGTON, USA -- A complaint has been filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the United States under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in relation to a contract purporting to grant oil exploration rights over some eight million acres of Saint Lucia’s maritime territory.
The 46-page complaint, which Caribbean News Now has seen, names Saint Lucia’s prime minister, Dr Kenny Anthony, and RSM Production Company (RSM), a Texas company, along with its president Jack J. Grynberg. Caribbean News Now has also seen a written notification confirming receipt of the document by the DOJ.
According to the DOJ website, the FCPA was enacted in 1977 for the purpose of making it unlawful for certain US persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business.
“Using the FCPA, the Department helps ensure that US companies and individuals, as well as foreign companies and individuals where appropriate, are held accountable when they pay bribes to foreign government officials in order to get business,” deputy US attorney general James Cole explained recently.
Specifically, the complaint notes that, in or about February 2000, Anthony, as then minister of finance, planning and sustainable development, signed a contract with RSM that purported to grant the company an “Exploration License” in respect of territorial maritime resources belonging to Saint Lucia amounting to 8,726,263 acres.
However, under Saint Lucia’s Minerals Vesting Act, all minerals in, on or under any land in Saint Lucia are vested in and controlled by the Crown and only the governor general may grant a licence to prospect for and/or mine such minerals.
Further, although the contract provides that RSM shall pay a royalty to “the Government” (as required by section 5 of the Minerals Vesting Act), it goes on to state that the liability of RSM in this respect shall be discharged by paying such royalty to the minister and not the government.
The complaint states that these facts, among others, establish probable cause that a crime has been committed to warrant investigation and possible prosecution under the FCPA:
1. The contract was signed by Anthony purportedly as a Saint Lucia government minister but who was not in fact legally authorised or empowered to do so;
2. The contract was approved neither by parliament nor the governor general of Saint Lucia;
3. Royalty payments under the contract are to be made directly to a public official, not the Saint Lucia government itself;
The complaint in question is an allegation of possible unlawful conduct. The allegations must still be investigated, prosecuted and proven in US federal court.