ExxonMobil, RAMPS Logistics plead not guilty to false customs declaration charges

Last Updated on Friday, 10 May 2024, 14:20 by Writer

Ms Mariska Jordan of RAMPS Logistics exits the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court after her court appearance for RAMPS Logistics

Mr Steve Gentry leaving the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court after appearing on behalf of ExxonMobil Guyana Limited

Representatives of ExxonMobil Guyana Limited and RAMPS Logistics on Friday pleaded not guilty on behalf of their companies in connection with two separate charges of allegedly falsifying customs declarations to the amount of US$12.1 billion for imports of oil well equipment and other supplies.

Mr Steve Gentry of ExxonMobil pleaded not guilty to the charge of having caused to be made and subscribed a false declaration to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) a November 16, 2023 invoice for a quantity of oil well equipment and supplies to be valued at USD$12,192,103,923.91,

Ms Mariska Jordan of RAMPS Logistics pleaded not guilty to the charge of having made an untrue declaration to the Revenue Authority, contrary to the Customs Act.

City Magistrate Leron Daly granted them self-bail and ordered that they return to court on June 28, 2024 for report and disclosure.

Deputy Commissioner-General of the GRA, Attorney-at-Law, Jason Moore, who is prosecuting the case for the tax agency, told the court that investigations were continuing into the allegations.

The charges, in violation of the Customs Act, were brought in the name of the Commissioner-General of the GRA, Attorney-at-Law Godfrey Statia.

ExxonMobil Guyana Limited on Friday said it learnt from its then broker of a “clerical error” in a customs declaration that was filed by that broker in late 2023. The oil company denied responsibility for making the error and said neither the GRA nor the Guyana government lost any money.

The company also said the information included in customs declarations is separate from, and not used for, the calculation of cost recovery or tax statements, and therefore this error has had no impact on those areas either.

ExxonMobil Guyana said it has cooperated fully with the GRA in its investigation, including providing the agency with corrected information.

“We are dedicated to ethical practices, ensuring accuracy in all submissions; mistakes are promptly corrected when uncovered. Our commitment to continuous improvement is reflected in our proactive steps to prevent similar errors which has included a fulsome review of the work process with a new customs broker,” ExxonMobil said.

RAMPS Logistics is represented by Attorney-at-Law Sophia Chote, and ExxonMobil’s battery of lawyers include Edward Luckhoo, Andrew Pollard, Nigel Hughes, Shawn Shewram.