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PM: Fake oil probe must be proper one

Published: 
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, left, chats with the audience during ‘Conversations with the Prime Minister’ at the St Augustine Secondary School last night.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says he expects the Petrotrin board will call in independent investigators to look into the fake oil fiasco involving A&V Drilling Workover Limited, adding that a proper investigation of the matter is warranted.

He made the call during his third ‘Conversations with the Prime Minister’ at the St Augustine Secondary School last night, after being asked a direct question by as member of the public gallery.

A&V Drilling is now at the center of a scandal in which an internal Petrotrin audit has found the company was paid TT$80 million for oil it did not produce.

During the segment and answer period, a man asked Rowley if he felt the matter should be investigated and A&V Drilling should also be made to repay Petrotrin the money.

“A proper investigation is required and I expect that the board will let independent investigators investigate that matter. And if there is any area of corruption and incompetence, then the board will have to take corrective actions,” Rowley said.

He said this was what Government had put the board, whom he described as competent, in office to do.

He added that if the investigation proves that anyone is culpable they will be held accountable. However, he said if you want to get something out of an investigation it should not be politicised.

“We don’t want any political scandal or foolishness,” he said.

He added: “We will protect no one with corrupt actions in Trinidad, whether friend or foe.”

Asked by the same person if PNM senator Allyson Baksh, the daughter of A&V Drilling owner Nazim Baksh, should be suspended while the probe in ongoing, Rowley asked the man: “Do you think that the daughter should be suspended?”

When the man answered yes, the PM said he disagreed.

“I listened to you, you are making allegations against Ms Baksh, that is difficult to make.”

Earlier during his chat with the crowd, Rowley had also warned that those involved in corrupt activities would find no solace in his Government.

Repeating a previous statement that the corruption which permeates all levels of society had been one of the most difficult things for him to deal with since he had come into office, he said: “Persons who engage in corrupt practices, whether you are PNM or not, will find no solace. Every corrupt person must be held accountable for their action.”