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Suspended NP CEO resigns

Sunday, December 15, 2013
Kenneth Mohammed

Suspended chief executive officer at state-owned National Petroleum (NP), Kenneth Mohammed, has resigned. This latest development comes after three months of speculation and one closed-door meeting between the NP chairman Neil Gosine and Minister of Energy Kevin Ramnarine, at which time a report on why Mohammed was suspended was handed over to the minister. Since that meeting back in October both men have remained tight-lipped on the details.



But Mohammed broke his silence in an interview with the Sunday Guardian on Friday and confirmed that his resignation letter has already been handed over to the board. He also said that the reason for his suspension had nothing to do with any questions about his qualifications.


On Friday, an anonymous source, bearing the e-mail address “[email protected],” sent five letters to several members of the media. The letters included two responses to the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) who had written to Mohammed’s past schools asking for confirmation of his accreditation. Mohammed’s three-month suspension ends on Tuesday, and his last day is now on December 31.



Secret report comes to light
Mohammed has denied all claims that his three-month suspension and subsequent resignation came as a result of his inadequate qualifications for the job. Sources within NP yesterday told the Sunday Guardian that Mohammed was suspended for two reasons, neither of which questioned his qualifications. “The board was concerned that he had not gone through the correct process to get the promotion, and he had signed a Memorandum of Understanding without correct approval,” the source said.


While Mohammed has remained tight-lipped about the unfolding situation, a source close to him has revealed that the suspension came after two vocal clashes with Gosine. “That stuff about the suspension over his qualifications is bogus crap,” the source said but added that Mohammed began feeling “targeted” by the OWTU and the board of directors headed by Gosine.


“I understand he received two death threats after the suspension, and one caller even told him they know the schools his children attend. He had to hire security. That is nonsense,” the source said. He also said Mohammed was being “bullied by trade union thugs.”
Mohammed has refused to comment on that issue, only saying that his stint at NP was his “first and last foray” into the State sector.



NP over staffing
The Sunday Guardian also understands that a recent audit found that NP was over-staffed by a whopping 100 per cent. The audit revealed that while the company could successfully operate with just over 300 staff members, a current staff count stood at 644. The company recently brought in four new general managers and appointed four more from the existing employee-base. “I am not responsible for the dismissals because I cannot make a decision like that on my own. It came with board approval,” Mohammed said.


A colleague close to Mohammed, who requested anonymity, also said Mohammed’s departure would signal a small exodus from NP. “As many as four senior managers are planning to walk out too because the board expects rubber-stamps who question nothing that is going on in there,” he said. “We cannot fight the board,” he added.



Roget stands firm: He’s not fit for the job
President general of the OWTU, Ancel Roget, in a telephone interview yesterday, said he stood by his belief that Mohammed was “not fit” for the job. “I am a thug? If I am a thug, then I a thug for justice, decency and morality in public affairs. I am a thug against corruption, against nepotism, and I will continue to be a thug until justice prevails. That accusation is laughable,” Roget said. He called on Mohammed to stop sidestepping the issue regarding his qualifications.


“What he should do is respond properly as all the evidence points to false qualification. That seems to be the norm for people in senior jobs to submit false documents,” he said. Roget said after three months of speculation, he was “glad to see the back” of Mohammed.
“He was suspended under a cloud of secrecy and suspicion and resigned only when he got caught out,” Roget said. The matter of the 68 dismissed workers is still currently before the Minister of Labour, Errol McLeod for arbitration.


Several attempts to reach Gosine were unsuccessful.


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