Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, said, yesterday, that the report which was conducted
about the questionable purchase of fuel, and other allegations made against the Guyana Oil Company (GuyOil), has been submitted to the agency’s Chairman of the Board.
The Chairman, Lance Carberry, according to the Minister, is examining the report and is expected to make some pronouncements soon.
Asked to divulge some of the information since he would have been privy to the contents of the report, the Minister responded, “Let me allow the Chairman of the Board to digest the report and for his word to cogitate on the findings of it and in (a) very short time, I’m sure you will get that information,”.
With gas stations stretching across the coast, the state-owned GuyOil since its establishment in the 70’s, is now handling between $400M and $500M weekly in sales. However, there have been allegations of corruption, with questions over the procurement and sales.
Also, questions were raised after ships that were hired to bring fuel to Guyana were reportedly transporting for other persons. The company was allegedly paying for these illegal distributions.
There were also allegations that there was a scam where GuyOil officials were accused of selling fuel to preferred customers, and buying it back at a higher price when supplies ran low.
GuyOil had that advantage as it sells the cheapest fuel in the country.
After word of these allegations began making the headlines earlier this year, a Board of Inquiry was established to verify these claims.
The Head of State, David Granger, had mandated that the Board of Inquiry investigate these allegations of criminality, malpractice and mismanagement in the acquisition of fuel by GuyOil and the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA). The review covered the period from November 10, 2015 to March 19, 2016.
The report was subsequently handed over to Harmon who at the time said, that the findings will assist the administration in determining what course of action should be taken going forward.
The inquiry was headed by retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Winston Cosbert; the other members were Julius Wright; and Edgar Thomas.
Further, in late February, more than seven months after being sent on leave, Managing Director of the Guyana Oil Company (GuyOil), Badrie Persaud, was sacked.
According to previous reports – GuyOil’s Board of Directors had made it clear that it had no confidence in the official’s ability to execute his duties “honestly, objectively and efficiently”.
The board, along with Nigel Hinds and Associates Financial Services, subsequently reviewed the documents and verified the findings of a forensic audit conducted by the firm for the period November 1, 2011 to May 31, 2015.
The forensic audit was ordered by the Granger-led administration shortly after it took office in May last year. Findings of this report also headlines in the media throughout the country.
Persaud was sent on leave in early July, amidst a shakeup at that state-owned entity.
Government sources, then, had confirmed that Persaud, a candidate for the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) in the May 2015 General Elections, was sent on about seven months’ leave that he had accrued.
At the time, GuyOil had been under scrutiny for several weeks, after Government reportedly unearthed a scam where persons not working with the ministries and state agencies, were collecting gas from the entity’s service stations.
Guyana has been buying fuel from Trinidad for GuyOil after an arrangement with Venezuela fell through amidst a border controversy.
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