All Government agencies have suspended their relationship with The Mohameds -says President Ali

All Government agencies have suspended their relationship with The Mohameds  -says President Ali

While indicating that the Government is still awaiting details from the US Government on its investigations that led to the sanctions against billionnaire businessmen Nazar and Azruddin Mohamed and Permanent Secretary Mae Thomas, President Irfaan Ali today said the businesses related to the Mohameds have been suspended.

At a State House press conference, President Ali said while he is unaware of whether the gold trading license for the Mohameds has been revoked, he knows that the Guyana Gold Board and other Government agencies have all suspended their dealings with the Mohameds and their companies.

“Everything is suspended, lets make this very clear. The transactions with the Gold Board, everything, but as I said, there is a process. The rule of law is the rule of law. I don’t intervene in the process. There is due process in everything and that process is ongoing. Maybe one process is simpler to activate than the other process, but what you need to understand is that the substance of the sanctions, which is doing business, integrating with businesses, has been adhered to, the substance of the sanctions. Now the process of dealing with all of the existing licenses, and all of these things, that is a process that the agencies are going through”, President Ali said.

He said local authorities intend to conduct their own probe once the information is received from the US authorities. Last Friday, the US Ambassador to Guyana, Nicole Theriot confirmed that the US Government has received the request from Guyana.

President Ali said the Guyanese authorities really cannot opereate without the information, although some Government agencies are taking actions of their own based on information in the US Treasury Department report.

“The Government is awaiting the information to be sent, but as of now, what has been said in the report is the issue of tax evasion that we have to get the information, the GRA has requested information, the Ministry of Finance has requested information, we can’t operate without the information…when that information comes, if there is a discrepency between what was declared here and what was declared there, which leads to tax evasion issue, then that helps us to build the case and then the GRA and the other agencies can take the necessary action that is required. But it is an ongoing process”, he said.

The President today played down reports that his Government was left in the dark, along with local law enforcement agencies, about the US Treasury Department’s investigations.

“I don’t agree that we were left in the dark, and I am not surprised by anything in life”, Ali said.

On his personal relationship with the Mohamed family, the President said he has known the family for years, but he is not compromised by anything related to them.

“There is no one in this room who can tell me they don’t know the Mohameds. All of the banks were associated with the Mohameds, all of the major businesses have been associated with the Mohameds, the Mohameds have been in business long before I was born…I am not compromised, and will not be compromised in any way, shape or form. Not me!”, President Ali said.

Just over a week ago, the US Government through its Treasury Department slapped the Mohameds and Permanent Secretary Mae Thomas with sanctions, related to the underdeclaration of gold for export, tax evasion and being part of a bribery scheme.

Permanent Secretary Mae Thomas has since been sent on leave, while the elder Mohamed, Nazar Mohamed, has resigned from his position as a Neighbourhood Democratic Councillor for the governing PPP in the Eccles area.

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