Apr 26, 2021 News
…as ARI Boss reveals company officials promised to get him import licence
Kaieteur News – The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Friday seized a shipment of fuel at the centre of a scandal at the state-owned Guyana Oil Company (GUYOIL). Jayson Aaron, the principal for Aaron Royality Inc. (ARI), the company that ordered the fuel for GUYOIL confirmed the seizure talking to this paper yesterday; he also admitted that the company does not have an import licence for fuel, but claims he did not bring the fuel into Guyana’s waters as per agreement with GUYOIL officials.
Aaron explained that under his verbal agreement with the entity’s officials, GUYOIL was supposed to send their pilot ship to escort the vessel from international waters, on arrival. This did not happen The ARI boss explained saying, “I have it in wording from the owner of the vessel, that’s what he told me; the Coast Guard gave instructions to [the] lighthouse to radio the vessel, to tell the vessel to come in” after which it was formally detained. He shared with this publication what he classified as the last known location for the vessel via satellite tracking. The vessel has since been moored at the Ruimveldt Sugar Terminal.
Regarding the fact that he did not have a fuel import licence, Aaron explained that under the agreement he had with the GUYOIL Director and senior official who engaged him, they were to – on the ship’s arrival – use their “fuel permit to bring the ship with the cargo in.” According to Aaron, “I told them in the beginning I didn’t have a permit and it was being processed at GEA and they said that after this shipment they would speed up the process of my permit.”
Asked to elaborate on the agreement, Aaron told this publication he had requested a contract but “they said, when this emergency load is received, they will put everything in place for a contract; so basically, this was supposed to be a trial run for my company with them.”
This publication understands the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) has also launched an investigation into how ARI managed to import the fuel without a licence. GEA head Dr. Mahender Sharma, when asked yesterday, would only confirm that an investigation has been launched into the matter. He declined to comment further, saying that he did not want to prejudice the investigation. According to Aaron, he is expected to meet with the GRA today on the matter.
Efforts to contact the GUYOIL Chairman of the Board of Directors, Paul Cheong, yesterday for an update into the internal probe, proved futile. Cheong in an earlier comment to Kaieteur News, had shared that it was he, who directed one of the company’s Directors, Akanni Blair, to source a fuel supplier for two shipments that the state company had tendered out for.
He had said that Blair was only asked to provide the company’s management with the information for the company. According to the GUYOIL Chairman, the company in question, ARI was not known to him until Good Friday last, when Blair and a senior GUYOIL official met with the ARI Principal, Aaron, at his home. He told this publication that he had only instructed the two officials to go ahead and begin the due diligence process for the supply of the two shipments of 31,000 barrels of fuel each, destined for the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Company.
Efforts to contact the senior official that was said to have met with Aaron on Good Friday last, to discuss the fuel deal, proved futile as calls to his mobile telephone went unanswered. That official has been said to be the person at the other end of a WhatsApp message thread where details of the fuel transaction was discussed and Aaron was assured of payment if he kept quiet on the matter.
Aaron had last week issued several ultimatums to GUYOIL to conclude the transaction with him or he would expose that officials of the company had contacted him to procure the fuel and that there was some corrupt aspects to what was subsequently required of him to secure the deal. He has since told Kaieteur News that the deal between him and the GUYOIL officials was squashed, since, according to him, the officials had found another dealer that was offering a higher pay off. This publication understands that that other purported arrangement also fell through since GUYOIL ended up purchasing the fuel for GPL from Staatsolie, the Surinamese state-owned oil company.
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