The Fraud Squad should be sent to Petrotrin to examine the state-owned oil company’s books in light of the A&V Oil and Gas Limited scandal, Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen urged on Tuesday as he spoke on Senator Wade Mark’s private motion to suspend A&V’s contract and withhold payments to that company.
Just as the police seized cell-phones in probing the Port Authority, so too should they now seize raw evidence at Petrotrin, Ramdeen urged.
Adopting a phrase used recently by Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young to describe the hiring of contractors under the former People’s Partnership government, Ramdeen said the real “cartel-like behaviour” that needs to be ended was the conduct of parties in the A&V oil scandal.
“A&V will be the reason why this Government will fall,” Ramdeen predicted. He said Petrotrin must now heed the recommendations of its Internal Audit Committee, as each day that passes without this happening Petrotrin breaches its fiduciary duty.
“We will ensure those people held responsible will be accountable,” he vowed. “This will end up by hook or crook on the doorstep of the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions. This Government had promised accountability but should hang its head in shame. A person got $80 million belonging to the taxpayer.”
Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat in turn expressed shock at Ramdeen’s remarks. “You can’t go by hook or crook. There is a process to be followed.” Rambharat said Opposition Senator Wade Mark speaking earlier had wanted to force a premature action on something that was not underpinned by law.
“The House is not empowered to do so, so what we are asked to do is impossible to do.” Rambharat said the House cannot bind any joint select committee (JSC) set up to probe the A&V Oil affair. “This motion is hypocritical, convoluted, premature, unnecessary and dangerous.”