As questions continue over the granting of fuel import and storage licences last year to a company
owned by a senior Government executive and his three business partners, the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) has revealed that the company involved had indicated use of other authorized storage facilities in its application.
The Importing/Wholesale Licence and Storage Licence were granted to Atlantic Fuels Inc., a company that has close links to Chief Executive of Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), Dr. Richard Van-West Charles and Manager of the Debt Recovery Unit, Lear Goring.
The GWI boss and Goring became directors in Atlantic Fuels in June, weeks after the May 11th elections last year which saw the Coalition Government taking power.
In late September, Atlantic Fuels applied for the licences, and was granted them on November 5.
Van West Charles started his duties as GWI’s head in October.
The granting of the licences has been raising eyebrows, with questions being raised whether Van-West Charles was given special considerations because of his closeness to the current administration.
He is the son-in-law of former President and Leader of the People’s National Congress (PNC), Forbes Burnham and served as a Minister prior to 1992.
The GWI head denied this week that the licences had anything to do with GWI and said that nothing bars him as a private citizen from doing business. He also said that, contrary to what GEA has stated, the application was made since
February last year.
Van-West Charles only became a director in June 2015 with his business partner, Goring, who he later coincidentally hired at GWI. The duo would have joined two other directors, Andron and Ronaldo Alphonso, said to be close relatives to prominent businessman and miner, Alfro Alphonso.
In response to questions from Kaieteur News on the application, this is what GEA’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mahender Sharma, had to say this week:
K/News – Were the requirements for the granting of the licence satisfied?
GEA – The requirements for the grant of the Importing Wholesale Licence to Atlantic Fuels Inc. were satisfied in accordance with the Petroleum and Petroleum Products Regulations 2014. Further, the Importing Wholesale Licence was granted premised on ‘no objection’ from the Minister of Public Infrastructure prior to issuance.
K/News – Could you explain the requirements and say if the company has met them in regards to storage facilities?
GEA– The requirements for the grant of the Importing Wholesale Licence are contained in the Petroleum and Petroleum Products Regulations 2014. Accordingly, for a grant of such a licence, the company would be required to submit documentation to fulfill the requirements.
The company submitted authorization documents for the use of storage facilities owned by another body. The facilities of the latter are licensed by the GEA and satisfied all statutory requirements prior to the issuance of said licence.
K/News – Is the company not having a storage bond at the address that was printed on the licence a problem?
GEA– This is not unusual in the format and grant of any/all of the Import/Importing Wholesale Licences. As an aside, caution must be exercised in interpreting the language and intent of the Licence.
The address stated on the licence is the registered office of the company and the use of this address on the Licence is in keeping with the format for ALL licences issued by GEA. The addresses of storage facilities and permission to use same, if applicable, are required to be provided as part of the application process. GEA is therefore aware of all storage facilities disclosed by the company. Rather, this address indicates the registered address of the office for all legal intents and purposes, as it notes the company is ‘operating’ at this address, but not STORING at this address.
K/News– When was the licence applied for? When was it granted?
GEA– The Licence was applied for on September 28 2015 and issued officially on November 5, 2015.
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