Aug 05, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), Jerome Khan, has come out in defence of the government agency over what he describes as a “smear campaign” being waged by Director of SBF International Inc. and SBF Petroleum Inc., Dorwain Bess.
Khan in a missive to the media recently accused Bess of presenting “convenient half-truths” and “blatant misrepresentations” in attempting “to paint the GEA as a villain in his fallacious tale of woe and victimisation.”
The Chairman was adamant that for Bess to portray the GEA as being involved in vindictive, high handed, conspiratorial actions against his company are easily proved inaccurate by following the written paper trail of communications concerning the company’s eventual eviction from a Christianburg, Linden facility.
SBF, according to Khan, was written to about the incident and as such was requested to provide an updated lease on June 10, 2020 and noted that it was Omai that informed the GEA of the altered lease by letter dated June 30, which was received on July 7, 2020.
The Notice Before Cancellation was issued on August 13, 2020, after the GEA had already received confirmation from Omai’s Director about the lease’s authenticity, according to Khan.
Khan in responding to Bess’ claims said that it should be noted that the company utilised the said eviction as an excuse to the EPA as to why it was unable to complete the cleanup and restoration activities required by that entity, following a spill of 59,000 litres of diesel at the site.
“In fact, this failure to comply with the conditions of the withdrawal of a previous Prohibition Notice resulted in that Notice regaining effect,” Khan noted, adding that, “nowhere in his many articles has Bess stated this.” At the time, he was referencing a series of articles published in Bess’ favour in this newspaper. Khan noted that although Bess claims that his company “SBF International (or perhaps SBF Petroleum as the distinction between the two is negligible), has constructed large facilities, the articles published are accompanied by photographs of multiple red storage tanks standing on red soil.”
But according to Khan, Bess on behalf of SBF has to date submitted no documents to the Agency with regard to this storage site, despite being aware of the documents needed to support an application for a licence.
In fact, the GEA Chairman said the site appears to be leased to another company, Alpha Petroleum Trading Inc., of which Bess was a former Director.
Khan in his missive noted too that while Bess claims to have several employees on the breadline, two service stations on the West Coast of Demerara bear the names SBF Petroleum on their canopies. “What Bess has not revealed, is that one of those gas stations is leased to Alpha Petroleum and not SBF as the canopy may portray.”
Khan said too that “while Bess made much ado about having to fight tooth and nail to get [fuel] released to him, he is no doubt aware that the many checks and balances put in place not only by the GEA but also the GRA were to ensure that all the fuel imported by his company was taxed appropriately and marked effectively.”
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