The issue of a lease operator allegedly swindling $80 million from state-owned Petrotrin by over-billing the company for oil it never provided to Petrotrin, was first raised by Persad- Bissessar at a UNC meeting on September 10. At the party’s Monday Night Forum at the Union Presbyterian Primary School in Claxton Bay, the fake oil scandal was again her main focus.
Persad-Bissessar also weighed heavily on the fact that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had publicly acknowledged that he was friends with the owner of the company at the centre of the scandal. She said that a telephone call by a senior member of government, to the owner of the lease firm, raises serious questions and to her, suggests that the government official is guilty of misconduct and misbehaviour in public office. She said that it was passing strange at the government official did not call Petrotrin’s line minister Franklin Khan or Petrotrin chairman. Instead, the official chose to call the owner of the lease company.
“This phone call raises some serious questions and the question arises as to whether the (name called) may be guilty of misconduct and misbehaviour in public office,” Persad- Bissessar said. “The question arises as to whether (name called) may be guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice,” she added.
Persad-Bissessar also condemned recent attacks on media by personnel associated with the company and wondered whether the “perpetrators felt emboldened because they have a friend in high office.” She also condemned a police raid on Monday at the television studio offices of crime watch host Ian Alleyne, saying the nation is witnessing Gestapo tactics by the government.