Mohamed’s cambio licence to be cancelled following U.S. sanctions; Mae Thomas resigns from PPP executive

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 June 2024, 19:04 by Writer

Nazar Mohamed and his son, Azruddin Mohamed

In the wake of the United States (US) sanctions on wealthy Guyanese Nazar Mohamed and his son, Azruddin, as well as their businesses for alleged corruption, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo said Mohamed’s foreign exchange dealer’s (cambio) licence would be cancelled.

Mr Jagdeo said the Bank of Guyana has already informed the Mohameds that their cambio licence would be struck off.

According to Mr Jagdeo, Guyana’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Bank of Guyana would be conducting an assessment of the implications of the United States’ sanctions on Guyana’s financial sector.

He said, after a meeting with the Guyana Gold Board and assurances that the local system was tight, Guyana would “strengthen the system” to avoid gold smuggling and tax evasion.

“That would mean exposures of our banks to the Mohameds and any other matters that may have a direct bearing of a financial nature on our system, because we are obligated to do so under the sanctions to safeguard the financial sector of Guyana,” he said.

Mr Jagdeo, who is also General Secretary of the governing People’s Progressive Party, dismissed suggestions in some quarters that government was protecting the Mohameds. “We are neither witch-hunting the Mohameds nor are we protecting the Mohameds,” he said. Mr Jagdeo said the Mohameds have a right to due process under the law and could also ask the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to be removed from the list.

He said Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh and the Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority Godfrey Statia have written to the U.S. Secretary to the Treasury and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service respectively requesting all information about the Mohameds transactions. He said Mr Statia has specifically asked for all the information to be provided by December 31, 2024 because there is a timeframe within which certain charges could laid.

Meanwhile, Mr Jagdeo said Permanent Secretary Mae Thomas has resigned from the PPP”s Central Committee after she was accused of taking gifts, facilitating the award of contracts, passports and gun permits to the Mohameds.

Mr Jagdeo said he was “sad” that Ms Thomas, a “hard worker in the party”, has said in her resignation that “I maintain my innocence and I’m available for any investigation.” Ms Thomas has already been sent on leave from her post as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour.