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Monday 23 July 2018
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Ramesh plots court action

Attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj.

Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, attorney for A&V Drilling in the Fake Oil scandal, yesterday said he intends to file High Court action against the state after Energy Minister Franklin Khan told the House of Representatives on Friday, that reports on the fake oil scandal has been forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Maharaj said Petrotrin has withdrawn A&V’s lease operatorship at the Catshill field without producing a thread of evidence that A&V was involved in ‘doctoring’ its crude oil production and sales to the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery. Maharaj claimed that not even at the level of a civil action, has Petrotrin been able to show wrongdoing on A&V’s part, farless for criminal action.

Khan in reply to a question in the House, said that Petrotrin’s board referred the fake oil matter to the DPP in November based on two independent reports submitted by Kroll Consulting of Canada and Godfrey Clyne and Associates.

Petrotrin hired Kroll and Clyne to investigate and on December 22, the company announced it was terminating the lease operatorship of A&V. A&V’s attorneys have since threatened to take Petrotrin to court for $1 billion on the basis that it produced no evidence to arrive at such a decision (to terminate A&V’s lease). A&V has been drilling the Catshill’s field located in Moruga for the past 20 years.

Maharaj told Sunday Newsday, “Petrotrin has not produced any evidence to date or information showing that A&V was involved in any wrongdoing on a civil basis, farless a criminal basis. Petrotrin continues to act on frivolous suspicions and there is no basis for Petrotrin to have terminated the contract farless to have to refer the matter to the DPP.

“By Petrotrin continuing to act in a frivolous and irresponsible manner, it has caused embarrassment to the government and lots of taxpayers money to be spent. A&V intends to approach the High Court for relief in light of Petrotrin’s misconduct.”

Claims are now being made that when Petrotrin conducted its internal audit with regard to the A&V billing for alleged fake oil, two major oil spills occurrd. Petrotrin has declined to disclose to Sunday Newsday when their audit was actually conducted, but confirmed that two major oil spills occurred. In response to emails sent to Petrotrin’s communications department, Petrotrin’s Joy Antoine (Head of External Communications & Branding/Corporate Communications Department) stated that Oil Spill No. 2 took place on July 7, on a water course south-east away from Bachan Trace. It was cleaned up to the satisfaction of the MEEI and the EMA by personnel who visited the location and on several occasions during and after the spill.

Oil Spill No 3, the Petrotrin email response stated, was described as a loss of containment that happened on Saunders Trace approximately 150 meters east of British gas on July 28, 2017.

It marked this oil spill five miles from Bachan Trace, Moruga.


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