Government Legislator Resigns Amid “Fake Oil” Controversy

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Allyson Baksh

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has accepted the resignation of Allyson Baksh as a government senator amid the ongoing “fake oil” controversy involving A&V Oil and Gas.

A brief statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said that Rowley had accepted the resignation of Baksh and thanked her for her service and contribution to the Senate since her appointment in September 2015

Baksh is the daughter of the chief executive of A&V Oil and Gas, Haniff Nazim Baksh, whose company is at the center of a controversy regarding the supply of oil to the state-owned PETROTRIN.

A forensic audit report by the Canada-based Kroll Consulting Canada Company found that PETROTRIN paid A&V for oil produced between January to June which it did not receive.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar, who first made public the “fake oil” issue, had earlier this month asked about the position of a “PNM (People’s National Movement) Senator”, a reference to Baksh, calling for her resignation from the Senate.

She has also called on the government to immediately terminate PETROTRIN’s contract with A&V Oil and Gas Ltd and for a criminal investigation to be launched by the police.

Prime Minister Rowley has already indicated that the matter will be dealt with by the PETROTRIN board of directors and the Energy Ministry.

In September, PETROTRIN announced that it had launched an investigation, into the reports of inconsistencies in the volumes reported from its exploration and production fields.

“PETROTRIN confirms that investigations are in progress, with respect to reports of inconsistencies in the volumes reported from our exploration and production fields, and that reported as received at our Pointe-a-Pierre refinery. These investigations are focused on the volumes for fiscal 2017 and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries has been informed,” the company said in a brief statement. – CMC

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