President of the National Gas Company (NGC) Indar Maharaj and three other senior executives at the state-owned company–Nazim Sarjad, manager, Construction Services; Charmaine Mohamed, manager, corporate communications and Cheryl Boodoosingh, manager, procurement and contracts–have been sent on leave with immediate effect pending a financial audit into the state company.
The action was taken following the first meeting of the newly-appointed board of directors of the company which is now chaired by Gerry Brooks.
Maria Thorne, vice president, legal and corporate management, will act as president and other managers have been appointed to act for the three managers who are proceeding on leave.
A brief statement from NGC said: "The decision is consistent with international best practice, given the significant and precipitous decline in the company's performance in the last two years.
"A financial audit will commence shortly and a reputable international financial firm has also been retained to conduct other specific audits.
"The board of NGC is committed to ensuring proper corporate governance, cognisant of NGC's strategic and commercial importance to the future development of the natural gas-based sector and the economy of Trinidad and Tobago.
"The board is also committed to making the appropriate interventions to realise the full potential of NGC."
There had been concerns in recent months about the company's financial performance. The $4.5 billion in profit after tax reported by NGC for the year ended December 31, 2014, was lower than $6.5 billion for the previous year.
In May the company was downgraded by Moody's Rating Services to a credit rating of Baa2 and its total assets decreased in 2014, compared to 2013. For the period ended December 31, 2014 the company held $44.3 billion in assets compared to 2013 when it held $45.1 billion in assets.