Jul 31, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – SBF International Inc. —the fuel company that was charged in April last, for wholesaling fuel that it was given special clearance to discharge after its import licence had been cancelled—had its principal Director, Dorwain Bess, yesterday released on $100,000 bail.
Bess appeared in Court before Magistrate, Leron Daly, where the Guyana Energy Agency’s (GEA) prosecution team initially objected to bail, the alternative being remand to prison until the next hearing, set for October.
Attorney-at-Law, Siand Dhurjon, who appeared on behalf of Bess, objected to the GEA’s request, since according to the lawyer, the objection was malicious, since it was a trivial charge and not malum prohibitum (evil in nature).
Successfully rebutting the GEA’s request, Dhurjon explained to the court that it was the company that was charged and as such, a Director could not be held on remand.
According to Dhurjon, his client could simply resign as a Director from the company and exit the court case altogether, at which point in time, another director would have to appear in court to represent the company.
The GEA prosecution team, which included Arud Gossai and Colleen Sparman, had objected to bail in light of the fact that when the summons was to be served on Bess, he could not be located at his residence or registered office.
According to Bess’ attorney, this was the case since Bess was in Linden at the time. An arrest warrant had been issued for Bess when the matter first came up but was later withdrawn.
The GEA had also requested that Bess lodge his passport with the relevant authorities but this was refused by Magistrate Daly.
Following yesterday’s hearing, Bess resumed his planned protest action outside of the GEA’s Quamina Street Offices, to express his and his staff’s consternation over the actions being meted out to the company by the GEA.
This, in addition to the reinstatement of the cancelled Fuel Import and Wholesaling Licence, cancelled on September 14, last.
While on his way to protest what he calls discrimination on the part of the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mahender Sharma, Bess was met by police ranks and served with a summons to answer even more charges being brought against him by Dr. Sharma and the Energy Agency.
The objective of the protest action, according to Bess, is focused in part on the removal of Dr. Sharma as head of the GEA. Additionally, Bess told this publication that his now laid off employees are eager to get back to work since the cancellation of the licence and the subsequent laying off of staff, “would have happened in the middle of a pandemic; honestly it’s not just them that’s being hurt, but it’s their families too.”
The SBF boss has since reached out also to the US Embassy seeking an urgent intervention, and conceded that while there are remedies locally available with which to resolve the current debacle, “I believe Sharma by himself has become so discriminatory that I don’t believe that it would be easy to impact him single handedly.”
He explained that being a naturalised US citizen, he is hoping that the US Ambassador, Sarah-Ann Lynch, would be able to provide some assistance with his troubles.
Bess says that he is hopeful that the President and Prime Minister of the country would, through his public demonstration, be apprised of the situation and be able to render some form of assistance.
Meanwhile, as it relates to the additional charges he was adamant, “I am of the view if there are 15 charges, why were they laid at the same time, why only after me going public there are new charges being somewhat brought against me?”
He has since been ordered to appear in court on August 17, to answer charges that allege that the company, SBF International Inc., between November 3 and 4 last year, imported some 155,000 litres of diesel without authority to do so under an import or importing wholesaling licence.
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