Akbar Mohamed of Charity, Essequibo Coast was on Tuesday found guilty of being in possession of illegal petroleum. He was ordered to pay a fine of $150,000.
Mohamed, who appeared in the Charity Magistrate’s Court before Magistrate Faith McGusty, was charged by the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) in March, 2010 with being in possession of illegal petroleum contrary to section 5B(10) of the Guyana Energy Agency Act.
According to the particulars of offence, on September 23 at Lot 10 New Road Charity, Essequibo Coast, the accused had in his possession 265 gallons of illegal diesel wherein the marker was below the proportion determined by the minister.
The trial, which started on 8 April, 2010, saw the GEA Special Prosecutor, Attorney Gino Persaud, leading three witnesses.
The defence made a no-case submission after the prosecution closed its case and on August 16, after listening to arguments by Persaud, in response to the no-case submissions, the magistrate overruled the no-case submission and found that the prosecution had established a prima facie case. The court ordered the defendant to lead a defence. This was done and after closing arguments the magistrate adjourned the matter for decision.
On Tuesday, at the Charity Magistrate’s Court the magistrate handed down her decision in favour of the prosecution, finding the defendant guilty of possession of illegal petroleum. She ordered a fine of $150,000.
The defendant was represented by Mr L Dindyal of Essequibo. Speaking to Stabroek News after the verdict, Persaud said it was a small but much needed step forward for the GEA. This is the first conviction the GEA has secured in its anti-petrol-smuggling fight. GEA had brought several cases to court but they were all dismissed for various reasons.
Even though he is in private practice, Persaud has successfully prosecuted for the Guyana Revenue Authority.