A and V Oil and Gas Limited today launched a legal defence against the claims made in a Petrotrin internal audit report, and the statement by Petrotrin Chairman Wilfred Espinet that it was involved in fraud involving what has been described as ‘fake oil”.
In a legal letter to Petrotrin’s chairman from attorneys Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC and attorney Ronnie Bissessar, A and V Oil and Gas Limited said it was not consulted by Petrotrin’s auditors nor was it invited to make any representations in its favour prior to, or upon the publication of the report, which was first publicly disclosed by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar at a political meeting last Sunday.
“Petrotrin, notwithstanding that the Report was preliminary and that its findings were going to be independently confirmed, has apparently acted upon the report because it has now withheld the sum of US$6,310,438.66 to A and V referable to crude oil production for June and July 2017”.
The legal letter, dated September 14, also calls upon Petrotrin chairman Fitzroy Harewood to issue a written statement clearly affirming that while A and V has been a subject of an internal Audit Report, such or any findings are preliminary and inconclusive.
Maharaj further stated that Petrotrin withdraw any statements which suggest that A and V is guilty of fraud and/or fraudulent conduct.
He said the chairman’s statements in the media on Tuesday supported allegations made by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar at a political meeting on Sunday.
A and V first received notice of the allegations in the media, the letter stated.
The legal document called upon Petrotrin to formally advise whether the report dated August 17 is or will be subject of an independent confirmation. “what procedures would be invoked by Petrotrin in accordance with the rules of natural justice and in order to be fair, for A and V to be informed of the allegations, provided with a copy of the Report and given sufficient time for its written responses to the allegations and the arrangements for A and V, through its Counsel, to appear at the Enquiry to assist.”
The attorney also called on Petrotrin to pay A and V the sum owed in outstanding invoices for June and July 2017 which have been withheld by Petrotrin in breach of contract.