The Guyana Revenue Authority has seized the Panamanian registered fuel tanker which is carrying a shipment of heavy-fuel that is the centre of an ongoing fuel purchase scandal at the Guyana Oil Company.
The tanker which carries the name “President”, has now been anchored at the Guyana Sugar terminal in Ruimveldt and remains under the watch of the GRA Enforcement Unit. It has a cargo of more than 1.1 million gallons of heavy fuel.
The fuel shipment was brought in for the state-owned Guyana Oil Company by US and Guyana registered company Aaron’s Royality.
President and CEO of Aaron’s Royality, Jayson Aaron confirmed the seizure of the vessel by the GRA. He said he was also visited by members of the GRA’s Enforcement Unit who officially informed him of the seizure.
Aaron is expected to meet with the GRA investigators on Monday as part of the unit’s probe of the fuel shipment. Already, he said he has met with and provided a statement to the Guyana Energy Agency on the fuel shipment and his meetings with Guyoil officials.
The Aaaron’s Royality company is claiming that Guyoil is now trying to backtrack out of an agreement between the two companies for an emergency supply of the heavy fuel although the shipment is already here.
While there was no written agreement or contract, the company claims that it has other pieces of evidence, including emails and audio recordings of meetings, which would confirm that the fuel was ordered by Guyoil as an emergency order.
An official of the fuel import company has accused some senior Guyoil Officials, including managers and a Director, of seeking a financial kickback for the fuel supply and sale to Guyoil.
The General Manager of Guyoil Trevor Bassoo has since resigned but maintains that his resignation was not related to the fuel import scandal. He has also denied being part of any wrongdoing.
At first officials at Guyoil denied the existence of any agreement, pointing out that there is no contract between the two.
However, in his statement to the Guyana Energy Agency, the President of Aaron Royality, explained that he was visited at his home by two officials from Guyoil. He said one of the Officials was a Director on the Board of the company while the other was a senior Finance Officer.
Mr. Aaaron told the GEA investigators that during the meeting, he was provided with details of reason behind the emergency purchase. He claims he was also told to inflate the costs he was going to be charging Guyoil, with the difference going towards the Director and Senior managers as a kickback for getting him the contract.
“They asked me the price in which I told them was 42 dollars per barrel”, he said in his statement, while claiming that he was told by the Guyoil official to set the price at $57 instead and add an additional $5 on every barrel being supplied.
Aaron said during the meeting at his home, another Guyoil official explained that the extra money should be paid over to them in cash after Guyoil settles the account.
The man claims that he has audio recordings of the meeting.
He has also claimed that subsequent meetings were held at the Guyoil Providence Office where he was provided with details of the type of fuel needed and the specifications. Additionally, he told the GRA in his statement that he was also provided with a contract between Guyoil and the Guyana Power and Light Company for the fuel purchase.
Guyoil is currently facing a probe by the Auditor General’s office over the claims made by the fuel importer.
The Director who was named in the matter and the Finance Managers are also denying any wrongdoing and claims of them seeking a financial kickback.
Another Director at Guyoil has also reached out to the Aaaron Royality company to get a better understanding of exactly what went down during the meetings between the company and officials of Guyoil.