Alleged GuyOil fuel racket: Import firm wants answer on verbal ‘agreement’ in 48 hours

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Aaron Royalty Inc, the company that is at the centre of allegations of a fuel racket at the Guyana Oil Company (GuyOil), has accused the State company of reneging on an oral agreement to import fuel.

This has led to the import company securing legal representation and moving forward with seeking compensation for the fuel it has imported.

In an interview with this publication, the company’s lawyer, Attorney-at-Law Dexter Todd, explained that he has dispatched a letter to GuyOil seeking clarification on a number of issues, in the wake of its attempts to distance itself from his client, who has claimed he imported the fuel at its behest.

“We have asked them to make certain disclosures to us in relation to our client and their company and we’ve given them 48 hours to come clean on certain things. We believe that our client, as the days go by, is moving into serious expenses in terms of having the fuel in the ship sitting at a cost by itself,” the lawyer told this publication.

He noted that a determination has to be made as to who would be responsible for the fuel that has been imported.

“So, we have to determine, at the end of the day, who will be responsible for the fuel that is here… this oral agreement seems to have been performed by one party which is our client and there is some form of reneging because of whatever is their wrangle, I’m not too sure what exactly is the internal wrangling.”

This is likely a reference to former GuyOil General Manager Trevor Bassoo, who resigned from the company after he reportedly had a boardroom confrontation with a GuyOil official, who allegedly made the oral agreement with Aaron Royalty. That official, who was questioned by the Police, has denied any role in the controversy.

“We’re trying to get clarification so the letter is basically for clarification on a number of issues and we hope to have those answered before we advise our client what to do and what is the next step. The first thing to do is to get clarification, because based on what we’re reading in the media, there seems to be some form of internal wrangling between the parties.

“That doesn’t have anything to do with our client, but as it is, there are going to be legal ramifications. After the 48 hours, we will definitely be engaging the media on how we’re going to proceed,” Todd explained.

Reports had emerged earlier this week that businessman Jason Aaron of Aaron’s Realty alleged officials at GuyOil contracted him to bring in fuel. The businessman alleged, however, that GuyOil got a “sweeter” deal and subsequently cancelled the arrangement, causing him to speak out.

A source within the Guyana Police Force had confirmed that the senior official who was implicated was questioned in relation to the matter. According to the source, the official told Police that Bassoo brought the matter to the company’s attention during an executive meeting and implicated him. At the meeting, he said Bassoo presented evidence of the official’s complicity in the form of WhatsApp printouts showing conversations between him and the businessman.

According to the official, he denied any role in the alleged racket during the meeting and claimed that he did not have such conversations with Aaron. The Police source indicated that extracts of conversations between the official and Aaron were extracted from the official’s phone, but the indicated conversation was not found.

GuyOil Chairman Paul Cheong subsequently released a statement on behalf of the State company, in which he denied the allegations made by Aaron. The Chairman noted that while GuyOil did have discussions with the company, the company was never contracted to bring in fuel.

Cheong had also laid out a very complicated process when it comes to the State entity purchasing fuel, a process which he noted was not engaged. It was further explained that the GuyOil Board met with Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh, who has responsibility for the agency, and he was briefed on the matter. Cheong had said that during the meeting, Dr Singh requested that the Auditor General be called in to investigate.