SBF International Inc. has filed a lawsuit against the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) and its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mahender Sharma for the unlawful cancellation of its fuel import licence.
According to the court documents seen by Guyana Standard, the company which is owned by Dorwain Bess received a notice of cancellation on the grounds that false documentation was submitted to the GEA.
In his letter to SBF, Sharma reminded that on November 12, 2019, GEA had received a copy of a lease from the company to support its application for the renewal of its Importing/Wholesale Licence for the period 2019/2020. The date of the lease, according to court documents, was April 1, 2019 to March 30, 2020.
The CEO recalled that GEA had requested further information from SBF regarding Omai’s Mines Terminal at Christianburg, taking into consideration that there were issues in the past about fuel spills at the site which were not reported by SBF but later discovered by GEA officers.
Sharma said he had received a letter from SBF dated June 25, 2020, which stated that the company received favourable disposition from Omai towards extending the time of occupancy.
But five days after receiving SBF’s letter, the GEA head said he received a missive from Norman McLean of Omai,who indicated that not only was the tenancy lease long expired before March 31, 2020 but Omai had no intention of renewing the lease with SBF. That much was indicated to SBF in writing too.
Based on McLean’s statement, Sharma said he sent Omai a copy of the lease SBF had submitted to support its renewal application. The GEA head said he later learnt from McLean that no such lease was executed while adding that Omai had attached as evidence, the last known lease which expired since March 31, 2018.
The GEA boss said he subsequently conducted an investigation which led to the discovery of two Notices to Quit that were served upon SBF by Omai.
Further to this, Sharma said that one of his officers had contacted Anand Sanasie, a former SBF Director on the matter. By way of a letter, Sanasie maintained that there was an agreement between the two companies for tenancy. But subsequent requests for a certified copy of the said agreement proved futile.
Taking this into account, Sharma said it was concluded that SBF and/or its agents submitted an altered lease and that it would have 30 days to explain why its licence should not be cancelled.
On the part of SBF, it is claiming that Sharma did not honour the nation’s law as it pertains to how licences are to be canceled. In light of what it believes to be a breach, it is asking the court to quash the decision by Sharma and to restore its licence to import fuel. SBF is also asking the court to grant it in excess of $25M in damages as a result of the said act which it deemed to be premature.
It is also asking the court to have the defendant cover all of its demurrage fees totalling US$110,000 which were incurred for the usage of the M/V Ms. Robin, Wharf. The company also wants the court to have the defendant pay for lost profit on stalled shipments totalling US$296,253.
Guyana Standard had initially reported that the company which has filed a lawsuit against GEA belonged to Anand Sanasie as he is listed as a Director of SBF on the company’s website. He is also listed in a letter attached to the court documents reported on as a Director.
Be that as it may, Guyana Standard was informed moments ago via the company’s CEO, Dorwain Bess, that SBF has since cut ties with Sanasie. He said this was more than seven months ago.