May 29, 2019 News
The Guyana Gold Board on Monday defended its approval of an export licence for Adolphus Mining Inc., a company whose principal includes a miner in whose home a large quantity of gold was seized back in 2011.
However, although the Board has insisted that the necessary due diligence was carried out, there are continuing questions about the assessment of the entire application.
According to well-placed sources yesterday, it appeared that the board did not take into consideration that one of the two directors, Travis Chase, a television reporter, was convicted in a simple larceny case.
In fact, during the now infamous Commission of Inquiry into an alleged plot to kill President David Granger, Chase who was a witness, reportedly admitted that he pleaded guilty and paid a “hefty” fine in a simple larceny case involving a camera.
It would be pertinent to the application for a gold export licence as directors, under the due diligence process to Gold Board, would have had to submit police clearance statements.
It would be unclear if this was done in the case of Chase and whether the Gold Board took this into consideration.
Another considerable factor is that Adolphus Mining would have had to establish a case that it was a credible company with a sound financial track record history.
The problem with Adolphus Mining is that it was only formed last January.
The company was incorporated by Chase himself who does not have a record in mining.
However, the other director, Rylon Adolphus, does have a mining history.
An export licence for gold is not an easy thing to acquire. There are strict procedures and with tougher anti-money laundering laws in place now, the application process has to be spot on.
Guyana is mindful of these laws which can attract sanctions.
There are only about eight or nine gold exporters in Guyana.
It is unclear whether other miners had applied for export licences in recent times and what yardstick has been used.
The licence to export allows the company to be granted permission also for the opening of a foreign currency account at the commercial banks.
On Monday, the Gold Board, in responding to questions over the licence, said that that matter of a 30-pound gold seizure from Adolphus’s Republic Park home in 2011 was settled.
Gold Board said that it was not held against the miner when it deliberated and processed the application for the export licence.
The granting of the licence last March came to light Monday and immediately raised questions about the due diligence carried out by the Gold Board.
In explaining the application for the coveted gold export licence, the Board confirmed that a dealer’s licence was approved for Adolphus Mining, Inc. for 2019. The licence expires at the end of the year.
The board disclosed, also, that Chase is a director of said entity.
“In the instance of Adolphus Mining, Inc., the GGB management and directorate conducted the required due diligence customary for all existing dealers, and any applicants for the issuance of a dealer’s license.”
According to the Gold Board, its management and board were aware of the circumstances surrounding the case of a quantity of gold that was brought before the then GGB management in 2011.
“With regard to the gold from 2011, additional due diligence revealed that: 1) the holder of that gold was the producer, now licensed as a dealer; 2) all reports and ensuing official inquiries, at that time (and by the current board), relative to that gold indicated the miner and his gold holding (were) involved in a private conflict; 3) the gold was weighed at the GGB and full payment was made at market rates prevailing in 2011; and 4) there were neither charges nor court matters nor convictions nor fines nor anything prejudicial levied in relation to that gold.”
The Gold Board insisted that issues were all part of the review and approval process by management and the directorate of the GGB in 2018/19.
“There was nothing that militated materially against, or that did serve as an effective bar to the issuance of a gold dealer’s licence to Adolphus Mining, Inc. The GGB is concerned that it was not consulted for clarification prior to the release and publication of this news item, which both invades the privacy of the parties named, and casts a number of unfounded aspersions.”
With regards to Adolphus, it was reported that just this month, police acting on information searched a vehicle and found a .45 Glock semi-automatic gun and 60 matching rounds.
Information provided led the ranks to the home of Adolphus, where a search was initiated.
While conducting the search, officers discovered $2.4M and 30 pounds of gold hidden in soap powder buckets.
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