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It wasn’t me

Published: 
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Baksh denies involvement in attack on photographer
Nazir Ali, left, and Jim Krissa.

Although he is quoted in a newspaper article as saying that senior photographer Kristian De Silva was lucky he had not knocked him down, Hanif Nazim Baksh, CEO of A&V Oil and Gas Ltd, now denies any involvement in the incident.

Baksh was absent from a media conference at his attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj’s San Fernando office yesterday to address allegations levelled against the company following a Petrotrin internal audit report on the Catshill field. Maharaj said Baksh is not in an emotional state to speak on the matter.

“I don’t think that is relevant whether Mr Baksh has any connections with the Prime Minister or not. What has relevance here is, in our view . . . is the allegations contained in the report. But in addition, these defamatory allegations made against Mr Baksh have really had adverse effects on him,” Maharaj said

“He feels let down, he feels there has been a grave injustice done against him and his company, he feels that he has worked hard and honestly, is not corrupt, is not dishonest and feels very strongly about that. I don’t think Mr Baksh, from what I have seen, is at this stage ready to be able to talk about what has happened.”

Asked whether Baksh is denying his involvement in the attack on De Silva on September 15 when he and senior reporter Sascha Wilson were outside the company offices in Penal seeking an interview, Maharaj said: “There is nothing for Mr Baksh to deny because there are no allegations made against him. There is an allegation made against another person of interest and the police have interviewed that person.”

Earlie , Maharaj said his instructions were that neither Baksh nor the company was involved in the attack and another person, who is of interest to the police in the matter, has retained attorney Alvin Ramroop. The other person involved is reported to be a close relative of Baksh.

Asked about the article Baksh was quoted in, Maharaj said: “Not everything you read in a newspaper, sometimes, can be accurate.

He said he did a check and confirmed that Nazim Avenue, where the attack took place, is a public road.

Drilling manager: A&V was targeted

A&V Oil and Gas Ltd drilling manager Nazir Ali said while Petrotrin might have found a discrepancy in the amount of oil it documented as being received from Catshill, there are 15 active operators in the field and only his company was targeted. He said this was because of a sudden increase in production by approximately 150 per cent earlier this year.

Ali, who said this was due to their active drilling and well servicing programme which led to several new wells being put in stream, there was no problem with the sales tickets and the only issue was an error in the dates on two documents.

He explained that the company first transfers its production to the Barrackpore Tank Farm before it is sent to Pointe-a-Pierre. The audit report does not show the quantities of crude oil pumped from the Barrackpore to Pointe-a-Pierre as there is no metering system.

Ali blamed leaks for the loss of oil and said it was possible to lose 350,000 barrels of oil over the period targeted in the report. He said Petrotrin officials returned to the company’s facilities last week and found that everything was in order.

Maharaj said Petrotrin was not wrong is commissioning an audit into the field. He said audits are done regularly in the public service so operations can be improved. He said the conflict came when someone leaked the confidential report. The contents of the report were revealed by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.