I refer to a letter published in another section of the media on Wednesday May 18, 2016 headed, “Correia’s Companies not Air Services and Roraima Airways invested the money required under the lease agreement with the Government”. This letter was signed by Anthony Mekdeci, CEO of Ogle Airport Inc.
I will not answer for Roraima Airways as they are quite capable of answering for themselves. But on behalf of Air Services Limited, I wish to briefly clarify the situation and to correct Mekdeci. I will ignore for the time being the nonsense stated by Mekdeci that Ogle Airport is 100% built, owned and operated by Ogle Airport Inc. (OAI). That is a falsehood.
Our company was present at Ogle from the beginning and then invested in OAI. We knew then and we know now that Ogle Airport is a state-owned airport where OAI holds a lease to operate the facility.
Minister Patterson has already explained all of this so there is no need to repeat it here. ASL wishes to correct the statement that it failed to invest in the airport when called upon.
The records would show that the board controlled by Michael Correia deliberately refused to accept the funds offered by the ASL Group but instead accepted funds from Correia’s related companies. This had the effect of not only diluting the shareholdings of the existing shareholders but as planned by the Correias gave them a dominant position as equity shareholders. This enabled the Correia Group to own over 60% of the shares and OAI became a member of the Correia Family Group, in total contradiction to what the original five shareholders and the Government of Guyana had in mind. Since OAI became part of the Correia Family Group of Companies, it made little sense to make significant investments. Under the “Leadership” of Correia and Mekdeci, the company lost over $140 million to end of 2014 according to the audited financial statements and it never declared dividends.
Which businessman in a state of sanity could or would invest more money in a company run like that? Additionally, the company’s auditors PKF Barcellos qualified the audit report and stated clearly that the company was in clear violating of the lease agreement.
The only shareholders making money from investment in OAI are the Correia’s not through dividend payment and profitability but through other means.
The board is completely dominated by Correia and his associates, five out of the seven directors, and the company is basically operated as if owned by the Correia family. Air Services Limited is always prepared to invest in OAI even after its investment funds were refused but cannot see how it can do so now in the present environment.
OAI needs to be dramatically restructured and to return to the original ideas of the founders for it to be attractive to any businessman with an ounce of common sense.
Air Services Limited