–interim sub-committee appointed to manage company’s daily operations as GM resigns
SENIOR Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, has requested that the Auditor General’s Office be called in to conduct an urgent investigation of an issue related to the Guyana Oil Company Limited (GuyOil)’s purchase of fuel from a company called Aaron Realty Inc. (ARI).
According to reports, the proprietor of ARI, a fuel dealer, has claimed that he is now left with a large quantity of fuel on hand after alleged commitments from senior GuyOil officials that the company would buy it. The dealer claims that he has evidence of the commitments by officials of the company to purchase his fuel.
After reports of the scandal appeared in the sections of the media on Tuesday, General Manager of GuyOil, Trevor Bassoo, tendered his resignation to the company’s Board of Directors, forcing them to appoint an interim sub-committee to manage its day-to-day operations.
In recognising the situation at GuyOil, Dr. Singh summoned the company’s Board of Directors, Chaired by Paul Cheong, to an urgent meeting at his Main Street office.
During this meeting, the Board of Directors said that there is no contract with Aaron Realty Inc. to supply fuel to GuyOil. The board also outlined to the minister the procedures which are followed by the company with respect to the procurement of fuel. In a separate statement following the meeting with Dr. Singh, GuyOil listed the pre-requisite procedures in place and in practice, which are followed by the company in the procurement of fuel from any company. Those pre-requisites include competitive procurement, due diligence of the supplying company, purchase order/contract, nominated quantity sent to the supplier with expected date of delivery, certificate of quality/conformity with technical specification, proforma invoice which is necessary for the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to authorise the offloading of any fuel from the supplier’s vessel, and a certificate of origin/ signed declaration that the product was not sourced from an embargoed country.
Also, among the pre-requisites are details of the vessel to be used, the Q88 document; a detailed report by an independent inspector on the loading of the vessel; bill of lading for the loaded vessel and updates from the vessel on its estimated time of arrival. “GuyOil wishes to categorically state that whilst ARI was one of a number of companies which GuyOil had discussions on the possible supply of fuel, GuyOil has not, at any time, entered into a contract with ARI,” the company related. Although the company is affirming its innocence, Dr. Singh requested that the Auditor General’s Office be invited to conduct an urgent investigation into the matter, which is the subject of allegations. Minister Singh, during the meeting, emphasised the need for the company to act in compliance with the established laws and procedures in line with good governance, accountability and transparency.
He reinforced the point that a Board of Directors is appointed to protect the interest of the Government and people of Guyana and it is what he expects of all State entities. On this note, he reiterated that his government will not tolerate any type of unlawful practices.
While not directly responding to the minister, the Board of Directors of GuyOil, ahead of the probe into the recent allegations, assured the public that at all times, the company will act in compliance with the Laws of Guyana and best practices as it relates to conducting its business.
It is for this reason that the company has appointed a sub-committee of the board to oversee its day-to-day operations and lead the search for a new General Manager.
Although Bassoo resigned from the post, he said, in a Facebook post, that his friends, family and well-wishers should not be misguided by ‘propaganda.’
Prior to official reports of him resigning, reports were circulating on social media about Bassoo being sent on administrative leave in light of alleged corruption at GuyOil.
“I wish to state that is INCORRECT. I also wish to advise that I have chosen to and have submitted my resignation to the Chairman and Board of Directors,” he said.
Further, the former General Manager added: “I intend to solicit legal advice after which I will provide more information.”
Bassoo was appointed to the post of General Manager of GuyOil in October 2020, replacing Renatha Exeter, who had resigned from the company.