..Assures miners that their assay accounts ‘have not been compromised’
Stemming from ongoing investigations into an alleged multi-million-dollar fraud scheme, two employees attached to the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) were sent on administrative leave pending the outcome of further probes.
Reports are that an accountant and a clerk have been implicated in several illegal operations which have left one of the Board’s major suppliers still awaiting portions of payment for gold that had already been handed over to the entity.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources in a release on Friday, “Chairman of the Guyana Gold Board, GHK Lall, has confirmed that two employees have been sent home following the results of an internal investigation. This investigation is part of the Board’s enhanced due diligence efforts aimed at scrutinizing all activities and all areas relative to the GGB’s operations, and has been in place for a while now.”
This publication understands that the duo, both of whom have been employed at the Guyana Gold Board for over 10 years, have managed to milk portions of payments that accumulated over time.
Directors of the GGB highlighted in the aforementioned statement that miner’s “assay accounts have not been compromised” while noting that they have approved, among other things, the exercise to expose those employee whose actions have “through either negligence, or willful ignorance, or gross and unacceptable improprieties (or some combination of these) represent a threat to the enhancement goals and long-term interests of the GGB.
“It was emphasized that it must be made clear to everyone that those found to be deficient in principles and the highest standards of probity will be dealt with severely after due process is observed; there can be no exceptions. The board meeting reiterated that, in this manner, the due diligence endeavors will yield the most beneficial and enduring fruits to the GGB, the mining sector, and the Guyanese taxpayer” the GGB explained.
The Police were called in as investigations into the matter continue.
According to the Gold Board this internal investigation is an ongoing exercise, which is expected to expand in scope and duration, should circumstances so necessitate.
Earlier this year, senior staff members of the GGB were sent on leave to facilitate a probe of alleged links to an embattled gold dealer, Saddiqi Mohamed Rasul, who was charged for the $956 million fraud at the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI).
Shortly after Rasul was granted $3 million bail on the fraud charges in April, reports surfaced that he sold gold to the Gold Board regularly. There were also reports that he allegedly purchased yellow metal above the London Fix; deposited and withdrew millions of dollars from his company’s bank account, and was allowed to pay only the five per cent royalty and not the two per cent tax.