Jul 26, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The Georgetown Magistrates’ Court has withdrawn an arrest warrant that was issued for Principal Director for SBF International Inc., Dorwain Bess. The warrant was requested by the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) after the entity sought to pursue private court action against the businessman in relation to fuel transactions conducted last year.
An attorney-at-law retained by Bess, explained to this publication that “the warrant was recalled at the Magistrate’s discretion.”
The attorney noted that the Magistrate was encouraged to withdraw the warrant because it was issued “in violation of a mandatory statutory procedure, in that the summons requiring you to go to court was not personally served on you.”
It was noted that this was “apparent and demonstrable on the face of the record of the court and on the evidence given by the GEA.”
The attorney told this publication that the law requires, “that before a warrant is issued by a Magistrate to compel a defendant to come to court, the magistrate must be satisfied that the summons was served personally on the person, that’s the only way the arrest warrant could be issued.”
The GEA in a public missive on Monday last sought to respond to SBF International’s Dorwain Bess, that he was not only being maliciously prosecuted by the GEA but persecuted.
In a statement to the press on Monday last, the GEA contended “it seems rather coincidental that the articles began after Mr. Bess appeared in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court following the issue of a warrant for his arrest due to his failure to attend Court to face the charge of wholesaling without a licence was instituted against his company SBF International Inc.”
The GEA did not in its statement indicate that the warrant has since been withdrawn.
In an invited comment yesterday, Bess told this publication that the terms libel and defamation are legal terms used by attorneys but he personally believes that the GEA statement is tantamount to slander.
He told this publication that he has since retained the services of an attorney to explore the possibility of bringing a lawsuit against GEA Head, Dr. Mahender Sharma, in his personal capacity and his capacity as head of the energy agency.
The GEA in April last filed private court action against Bess’ company in relation to fuel transactions conducted in September last and according to the Energy Agency, “for clarity, the charges faced by the company and Mr. Bess for their unlicensed operations are unrelated to the shipment of fuel referred to by Mr. Bess, for which permission was granted by the Honourable Prime Minister in September 2020.”
To this end, the SBF International Inc.’s boss responded calling the position ludicrous, since it relates to the fuel transactions related to the same fuel the GEA confesses, was imported with clearance from none other than the Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips.
The Energy Agency in its missive had pointed out that in June 2020, after the GEA and Guyana Revenue Authority’s officers were refused entry to the SBF International’s Christianburg facility to conduct a marking exercise, the GEA wrote to SBF International Inc. about the state of its tenancy arrangements with the owner of the facility OMAI, requesting the submission of an updated lease as the one submitted in support of its application for 2019/2020 had expired.
To this end, Bess contends that the GEA’s position can only be aimed at defaming his company placing it in disrepute since any disagreements between a landlord and SBF International is immaterial to the matter at hand.
GEA in its missive contended that the landlord tenant disagreement was confirmed when OMAI—the owners of the land in question—in a letter to the GEA signed by the Director, indicated that it had never signed any lease with SBF International Inc. for the period 2019/2020 and a subsequent investigation revealed that the lease submitted by SBF was altered.
According to Bess, in his counter claims however, the landlord continued collecting payments for some 13 months after the purported altered date on the lease disproving the GEA’s contention.
The proposed legislation would represent the second lawsuit filed by SBF International’s Bess, against Dr. Sharma and the GEA.
According to court documents seen by publication, Bess in February this year filed litigation demanding in excess of $100M over the cancellation of his import licence and other fees incurred as a result of the GEA’s action in September last year and any other reliefs, which the court may deem fit.
The company is being represented by Attorney-at-Law, Neil Boston, in that court matter.
In the company’s affidavit submitted to the courts, Bess’ statement of claim is looking to have the court declare Dr. Sharma’s actions unlawful and further be quashed.
This in addition to compensation for damages and lost earnings since the cancellation of his company’s fuel import licence on September 14, last.
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