The resignation of Government Senator Allyson Baksh over the “fake oil” scandal was “long in coming, but inevitable,” yet other issues loom unresolved, Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen told reporters yesterday during the Senate tea-break.
Baksh’s father Hanif Nazim Baksh is the CEO of AV Oil and Gas Ltd, the company at the centre of the fake oil scandal.
“I think her resignation was long in coming and really it was inevitable,” he surmised. Ramdeen said the resignation was Government’s attempt to save face after the exposé by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, as confirmed by Petrotrin’s internal audit and an external audit Petrotrin commissioned.
“What I really think the issue is at this time is, now that Senator Baksh has resigned, the question arises as to what is the next step that Petrotrin is going to take.” He said Petrotrin’s board and chairman have a fiduciary duty to the country, after findings that $100 million was paid out fraudulently. Ramdeen wondered why the board had not sent that report to the Commissioner of Police for investigation and why Petrotrin has not acted on the report and terminated the contract with AV Drilling and taken steps to recover any money paid. These are all questions for the board to account for, he said. Having regard to Petrotrin’s poor financial state and the amount of money involved in the fake oil, one would have thought the board would have taken steps to recover the funds paid out unlawfully to AV Drilling, he said.
“The Attorney General has said over and over that this is a Government intent on following the money, and so it cannot be that where an internal audit report and an external audit report confirm that this is taking place that Petrotrin is taking its time to take any steps to recover the money and to terminate the contract.”