GGMC probing fraud related to overseas mining company

The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) at the behest of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment has initiated an investigation involving the Audit Office and Police into the fraudulent conversion of funds related to prospecting and mining permits for an overseas mining company.

So said a press release from the Commission yesterday.

“It has been reported that on November 11, 2011, the company was duly incorporated as a company in Guyana according to the articles of incorporation.

The company engaged the GGMC to conduct business pertaining to Prospecting Permit Medium Scale and Mining Permit on behalf of the company and requested the GGMC Foreign Currency Account Number to facilitate the transfer of the necessary processing fees,” the press release said. The GGMC did not name the company.

It said that once the fees were collected, this allowed for the commencement of the processing of the applications at which time it was observed that a refund was necessary.

“The GGMC facilitated a refund via a cheque in the name of a local company representative, who presented a letter (which did not bear the official company stamp) for the amount to be refunded to the representative, rather than being transferred to the account from which the original sum was received,” the release said.

According to the release, the mining company later wrote the GGMC indicating that their representative was no longer authorized to act on behalf of the company and enquired about the status of the refund noting that no money was remitted to the company.

“Upon investigation, GGMC learnt that the cheque has been encashed and is unable to make contact with the local company representative,” it said.

The matter was then brought to the attention of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environ-ment and the Board of Directors of the GGMC “who after reviewing the internal audit report immediately sought the intervention of the Auditor General, Audit Office of Guyana who is now handling the investigation.”
The release said that the Auditor General has enlisted the support of the Guyana Police Force.

“The Ministry of Natural Resources is awaiting the Auditor General and the Guyana Police Force findings and recommendations,” the release said.

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