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Send matter to DPP, cops

Published: 
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Mark on Petrotrin fake oil scandal
Opposition Senator Wade Mark speaks during debate in the senate yesterday.

Opposition Senator Wade Mark yesterday said the findings of the Kroll Canadian Consulting investigation, which confirmed Petrotrin paid for oil it did not receive, should be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, police and a Joint Select Committee (JSC).

Mark made the call as he moved a private motion asking for the Senate to suspend the operations of A&V Oil and Gas’ contract pending an investigation.

In putting forward his case, Mark questioned the whereabouts of defeated People’s National Movement candidate Vidya Deokiesingh who was spotlighted at the centre of allegations in the fake oil scandal, stating that Petrotrin police could not locate him.

Mark said the audit stated that Deokiesingh would have accepted the operators’ high and low figures without verifying if they were correct.

“He was there for a willing accomplice of the operator to defraud Petrotrin by overstating fiscalised volumes... The conduct of this gentleman is clear,” Mark said, which resulted in the State-owned company paying for oil that was never produced.

Mark said there was a giant conspiracy by the People’s National Movement to use A&V to fund their 2015 election campaign and if this matter did not come to the fore the country would have been robbed of hundreds of millions of dollars.

He said it was ironic that this “hypocritical Government” talks about transparency and accountability, but yet they were silent on the findings of the investigations and wanted to cover up the issue.”

It was being rumoured, Mark said, that the Government had given the green light to Petrotrin to allow A&V to continue to produce oil and had also refused to terminate or suspend A&V’s contract.

“We are calling on Government, if they are serious, to refer this matter to the DPP and police immediately. We want immediate action to be taken by the Ministry of Finance to suspend this operator’s contract whilst investigations into the audit committee report are ongoing. “

He also suggested that a JSC on state enterprises conduct a proper inquiry and investigation.

“This fake oil…ghost oil scenario…we want the Government to deal with the fraudster who has stolen the nation’s oil and we want the Government to take action by suspending this operator.”

Mark challenged the Government to call election now if they brave.

Energy Minister Franklin Khan, in response, denied there was any “cover-up,” saying the issue involved due process. He said while Petrotrin plans to take decisive action there was need to ensure any claim or action taken is not impeded by any missteps.

“In this case, doing it right is more important than doing it quickly.”

Khan said he got a brief from Petrotrin yesterday informing him that any premature disclosures could derail the company’s legal position.

“We on this side would not be loose with what we say.”

Khan commended Petrotrin’s board in handling of the investigation.