President orders removal of GuyOil officials amid alleged fuel racket

President Dr Irfaan Ali

President Dr Irfaan Ali today announced that he has ordered the removal of several officials at the State-owned Guyana Oil Company (GuyOil) amid an alleged fuel racket there.

During a press conference today, President Ali made it clear persons who are guilty of inappropriate actions at the will be removed.

“All those who had inappropriate contact must be removed,” he said.

Those persons removed are Board Member Akanni Blair and Chief Financial Officer Shawn Persaud.

Akanni Blair

The company’s General Manager Trevor Bassoo has also tendered his resignation amid the scandal.

Shawn Persaud

Reports had emerged that businessman Jason Aaron of Aaron’s Royalty 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 the GuyOil General Manager brought the matter to the company’s attention during an executive meeting and implicated him. At the meeting, the official 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.

Trevor Bassoo

Further commenting on the scandal, President Ali posited that “no fraud was committed because no transaction was entered in.”

The Head of State explained that, moving forward, “of great importance is to have a review of the system to ensure the system is rigid and strong enough at every tier to deal with any potential, from a company or individual, wanting to commit a fraud.”

President Ali noted that investigations are still ongoing into a number of corrupt acts at GuyOil, many of which were inherited.