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JSC rules against fake oil hearing

Published: 
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

There will be no hearings of the fake oil scandal at state-owned Petrotrin involving A&V Oil and Gas by Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on State Enterprises.

The committee met in a private session yesterday before the start of the Senate proceedings but the T&T Guardian understands that four Government members who were present felt there was no need for the JSC to inquire into the matter at this time.

Well-placed sources said Senator Allyson Baksh, the daughter of A&V Oil and Gas CEO Nazim Haniff Baksh, recused herself from the meeting to discuss the matter.

However, the other representatives from the ruling People’s National Movement, Ancil Antoine, Lester Henry, Cherrie Ann Critchlow-Cockburn and Adrian Leonce, all objected to a hearing, while Opposition Senator Wade Mark and MP Fazal Karim were in favour of the inquiry.

It was Mark who wrote to JSC chairman David Small requesting they inquire into the allegations made against A&V Oil and Gas, following the publication of an internal audit report which found Petrotrin paid the company close to TT$80 million for oil it never received.

Small confirmed the committee met yesterday “and the majority felt we should not have a hearing at this time.” He said members were of the view that “there were several initiatives under way by Petrotrin.”

Small said they had written to Petrotrin and “they indicated that they have an audit report and is pursuing other strategies, including an independent investigative report. So at this time there will be no inquiry by the JSC, but this does not preclude the committee looking at the matter in the future.” RS