Businessman denies fuel smuggling claims

first_imgFormer Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) Chairman Vickram Oditt on Tuesday responded to the claimsVickram ‘Vic’ Odittbrought against him by another businessman, Augustine Jackson, and denied that he, along with his business partner, Pradeep Abdool, had ever persuaded Jackson to use his vessel to smuggle fuel from neighbouring Venezuela.Oditt said the move by the businessman was simply a ploy to avoid paying the debts owed.“Abdool and I have brought a civil action against Mr Augustine Jackson for monies advanced to him and for which he has signed two promissory notes, which are past due. The court has ruled that his vessel should not leave Guyana unless he lodges the monies owed, along with his passport and those of his wife and her mother, with the court,” Oditt said, in a letter to Guyana Times on Tuesday.He added that in order to avoid paying his debts, Jackson has introduced the issue of an illegality, in “terms of accusing us of wanting to smuggle fuel into Guyana”. He maintained that any inquiry with any of the regulatory agencies – the Guyana Police Force; the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU); the Guyana Revenue Authority, and the Guyana Energy Agency would indicate that he and Abdool have never been implicated in any such illegal activity.“We did enter into a Partnership Agreement with Mr Jackson, which would have entailed legally importing fuel from a refinery, but we terminated it shortly after when we learnt that his vessel, Pollux A, had forged paperwork and it was not qualified to enter into a refinery, as Jackson had represented to us,” Oditt said.Jackson has accused Oditt and his business partner of attempting to induce him to smuggle fuel from Venezuela, by pretending that they have the relevant licences to do so.The office of Attorney Anil Nandlall, which is representing Jackson in the matter, on Tuesday said that Abdool and Oditt, trading as Potaro Fuel Supplies, on May 23, had filed a Writ of Summons against Jackson, June Elvin and AJ Marine Inc claiming that $17, 508, 487, the amount advanced to Augustine Jackson, for the purchase, transportation, repairs and crew expenses for the Vessel MT Pollux, or known and registered as MT Melissa J, and $347, 000 for purchase, transportation, repairs and crew expenses for the Vessel MT Pollux or known and registered as MT Melissa J.The injunction would restrain the defendants and, each and every one of them, whether by themselves, their servants and/or agents from causing, allowing or permitting the vessel to depart the jurisdiction of Guyana.It said on the very day Abdool made an ex parte application for an interim injunction. The application was heard by Justice Diane Insanally, who, on May 27, granted an injunction so restraining the defendants until the sum of the money had been lodged at the Supreme Court.On June 6, Jackson made an ex-parte application by way of affidavit to discharge the injunctions granted by Justice Insanally.He alleged that a criminal enterprise was afoot to smuggle fuel; serious and material information was withheld from the Court and the Court was grossly misled: among the non- disclosures was an Agreement between the parties that, should differences arise, then the parties should go to arbitration; the effect of this arbitration clause means that the Court has no jurisdiction in this matter and disputes should be resolved by arbitration and not litigation.Nandlall’s office further said the application was heard ex- parte by Justice Insanally, who discharged the injunctions, which she granted on May 27.All the parties and the respective lawyers appeared before the Court on June 10 and the plaintiffs were ordered to file their statement of claim before the Court.Nandlall’s office said notwithstanding that, on June 16, Oditt and Abdool through their Attorney, Rajendra Poonai, approached the Court, ex-parte, (in the absence of the other parties) and managed to extract from Justice Insanally, another order restraining the vessel from leaving the jurisdiction until the sum of US$347, 700.00 and the sum of $17, 508, 487 were lodged with the Registrar of the Supreme Court.last_img

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