Attorney-at-law Anil Nandlall has alleged that a minister of government is working to force Guyana Holdings Incorporated, trading as SUPERBET, out of the local gaming industry.
The accusation follows three years of SUPERBET waiting to be licensed, complaining that attempts to fulfill the necessary requirements have subjected them to a pointless back-and-forth.
Detailing the issue, Nandlall said that in 2017, the Guyana Gaming Authority (GGA) attempted to exercise control over the operations of SUPERBET, purportedly acting under the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act. He said that the matter had been taken to court and that they were able to persuade the court that the gaming authority had no authority over SUPERBET’s operations.
After the court ruled in favour, Nandlall said that the law was amended to give GGA some extent of supervisory control over SUPERBET.
Late 2017, GRA reportedly refused to license SUPERBET, informing that a certificate of good standing is needed from GGA. When they approached the GGA, Nandlall said they were subjected to a list of requirements, with which they complied. It reportedly takes 6-18 months for the licence to be processed and issued.
Nandlall said that, recently, they were invited to a meeting with GGA, when they were told that an AML/CFT audit was required for them to be issued a certificate of good standing.
That request was reportedly made only two weeks ago.
“All the time, we were working in trying to satisfy all requirements that they had made to us in relation to getting the certificate.” Nandlall said.
“So, after we satisfied all those requirements, an additional requirement was now imposed that we must have this AML/CFT audit done. We enquired from [Chief Executive Officer of GGA, Lloyd Moore] where we can retain the services of someone qualified to undertake this audit. He told us we can’t do that in Guyana; [that] we have to go overseas.”
“So, for the past two weeks, my client has been attempting to retain the services of a company that does this type of work.”
Meanwhile, he has noted that Attorney General Basil Williams has been making public statements, adding that he has been threatening to shut down SUPERBET’s operations for operating without a licence.
Further, Nandlall said that they received a letter from GGA telling them that operating without a licence may be the basis for them not issuing SUPERBET a certificate of good standing.
“Now, this is an agency that has been working with us all year round. They know where we stand. They know that we have done everything possible to satisfy this requirement of a certificate of good standing. They know that we don’t have the licence. They know that we will only get the licence if they give us the certificate. Now, all of a sudden, they send this letter, pretending not to know that we are operating without this licence.”
A copy of that letter was shared with Kaieteur News. It reads, “In the event that your company continues to engage in any of the activities permitted under a Betting Shop Licence without first obtaining a valid Betting Shop License, the betting authority may conclude that such unlawful activity by your company may by itself be indicative that your company is not fit and proper to have a Good Standing Certificate issued in its favour.”
Nandlall has said that he doubts other operators in similar business are subjected to the same “rigours” to which he reports his client is being subjected.
Even so, Nandlall said that he can find no place in the law which states that a certificate of good standing is a requirement.
“The hierarchical struggle has imposed that as an administrative requirement.”
SUPERBET’s General Manager, Shrikant Kisoensingh, was even ordered to report to the Criminal Investigation Department yesterday, Nandlall told the press. He said that he has spoken to the Deputy Crime Chief, and has explained the complexity of the situation to him.
Nandlall has described the situation as harassment, and said that, if it does not stop, they will go to court to get protective orders for SUPERBET’s operations.
He said that he has been informed from multiple sources that the pressure his client is facing is being orchestrated by a certain Minister of government.
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