Aug 14, 2022 News
…no charges laid one year later
Kaieteur News – Senior executives within the Guyana Oil Company Limited (GuyOil) have found themselves in hot water after a more than $300M fuel racket at the company, which has been ongoing for several years now, was blown wide open by a whistleblower, and several of its senior personnel, as well as Guyana Defence Force (GDF) staffers are reportedly involved.
Kaieteur News understands that the company’s internal audit department is probing the issue and the Guyana Police Force has also been called in. Information reaching this newspaper is that fuel which is designated for the military institution is being stolen and sold to private persons, with the company executives and GDF staff splitting and pocketing the cash. It is said that the GDF would prepay for its fuel at GuyOil and the company is responsible for delivering the fuel when the request is made for same. The GDF would therefore need to make a fuel request and that form, bearing the agency’s official letterhead, would be received before the oil company, using its road tank wagon, delivered the commodity to the stated location.
However, this publication has learnt that what has been happening since 2013 is that a named contact within the GDF would send a private email to the company’s terminal superintendent at its Providence terminal to uplift fuel. Given that the GDF is a prepaid customer, a sales invoice would be prepared, and a private vehicle bearing the registration GHH 7538 would come to uplift the fuel which is said to be taken to a service station on the West Coast of Demerara to be sold. It wasn’t until 2020 that the matter reached the attention of the authorised persons who chose to act on the information which saw the company’s internal audit department following up.
The preliminary investigations showed that the private truck bearing the registration GHH 7538 was actually registered to a named GuyOil customer. It said that the vehicle had been “…uplifting fuel purportedly on behalf of the GDF, dating back to 2013, with a total sales value in excess of $300M.” The corresponding invoices for the uplifts were signed by a named individual who was then found to be a corporal within the GDF.
However, when the fuel was uplifted, it is alleged that a senior finance personnel would receive the information. That senior personnel, was also supposed to receive the fuel request form as part of the documentation to legitimise the transaction. It was said therefore, that there were no source documents from the GDF to reconcile the fuel obtained against the prepayment sums, only the sales invoices which were used for reconciliation of the transactions. It was highlighted too that in different cases the invoices had no vehicle number, GuyOil truck numbers were dishonestly placed or the number of the private truck was listed.
A number of senior staff, some of whom are no longer with the company, are being accused of being part of the racket since information had reached these persons prior to the whistleblower taking the issue to the Human Resource Department. It is said that even the security department is accused of being part of the scam because they turned a blind eye despite them knowing that a private truck was collecting the fuel on behalf of the GDF. All findings and relevant documents were said to have been handed over to police inspectors in order for the Police Force to conduct its investigation.
When this matter was highlighted last year, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo had said that investigations had shown that close to $1 billion in fuel was siphoned off and that charges would be laid soon against those culpable. He had said that an audit was done that had GuyOil and the army implicated in the scandal. He said it was found that just one vehicle had uplifted $995M in stolen fuel. It was noted that while the audit covered from 2015 to 2020, it was believed that the scam might have been happening long before.
The newspaper’s information is that no one has been held responsible for the illegality or placed before the court so far.
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