Police must determine criminal culpability in GuyOil’s fuel scandal – AG recommends in report


A probe by Auditor General (AG), Deodat Sharma into the recent fuel scandal at the Guyana Oil Company (GUYOIL) has concluded with a recommendation to forward the document to the police to determine further course of action to be taken against criminally culpable officials.

According to Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh, several officials were found to have exercised poor judgment in the matter.

“The officials exercised extremely poor judgment in this matter and when you hold important positions in such companies, we [government] expect you to be able to exercise better judgment,” Dr Singh told the News Room on Thursday while attending the sitting of the National Assembly.

While the recommendation was put forward in the concluded report, Dr Singh relayed that it is unclear whether the report has been passed to the police.

It was already handed over to the Chairman of the Board of Directors at GuyOil, Paul Cheong.

“I’ve said to the Chairman that the report should be sent to the police for them to examine and determine whether there is any basis for action on their part.”

The Finance Minister explained that the probe outlined several other critical findings; confirming what was already suspected by the government. He said that the AG confirmed that there was no contract, verbal or written, with the company involved – Aaron Realty Inc. (ARI).

Further, he pointed out that the AG confirmed there were inappropriate and unauthorised communications between top officials at the GuyOil and representations of the company.

“The AG concluded that a number of officials were involved in inappropriate communications with the company and in violation of the company [GUYOIL] standard and procedures of procuring fuel.”

As such, the AG reportedly recommended that these officials who went “beyond their official mandate” be subjected to disciplinary actions.

Already, top officials from GuyOil were removed from their posts on the recommendation of President Irfaan Ali.  Those were Board Members Akanni Blair and Chief Financial Officer, Shawn Persaud. The General Manager, Trevor Basso had resigned prior.

Further, the Finance Minister said that the AG’s report contained critical recommendations, chief among which were for the company to strengthen its system.

This, he added was left to the Board to implement. The multimillion-dollar fuel scandal allegations surfaced in April; GuyOil later refuted the allegations made by Aaron Realty Inc. (ARI) that they were contracted to supply fuel and that there were “kickbacks involved”.

The company had noted that there was no truth to the allegations and clarified that whilst ARI was one of a number of companies which GuyOil had discussions on the possible supply of fuel, the oil company, did not, at any time, entered into a contract with them.

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