NP CEO suspended
...Board probing award of gas station contracts
Asha Javeed email@example.com
Chief executive officer of National Petroleum Marketing Company (NP), Kenneth Mohammed, has been suspended.
Mohammed was appointed on March 1, 2012 and his contract is for three years.
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine last night confirmed the suspension and said he will meet with the NP board tomorrow.
The Express was told that the NP board, which is chaired by businessman Neil Gosine, decided at a meeting yesterday to suspend Mohammed.
NP has come under scrutiny recently in the award of gas station contracts for new retailers and was investigating bribery allegations in connection with them.
The State company has received a report following the investigation which identifies a relationship with an NP official and a specific retailer who was granted a lucrative gas station location in June.
When the Express called Mohammed on his cellphone yesterday evening for comment, the recording said the number was no longer in service. The company did not state how long Mohammed has been suspended for and NP’s acting corporate communications manager, Rae Gilbert, would only say yesterday that Mohammed had not been terminated.
Gosine did not respond to calls or messages.
The Express was told the board intends to conduct further investigations into the allegations against the NP official who has been engaged in ongoing discussions with the NP board.
In June, there were complaints following the award of gas station contracts after NP issued Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for 28 stations.
Among the successful applicants were Damian Lyder, husband of Minister of State in the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure Stacy Roopnarine, who was awarded the St Augustine-based station; Basdeo Sharma, the ex-husband of restaurateur Jenny Sharma of Jenny’s on the Boulevard who was assigned the Valencia station; Elie Zakour, a director on the Solid Waste Management Co Ltd board who was assigned the Starlite (Diego Martin) station and Fides Ltd, (whose directors are Amelia Rampersad and Shane Sagar), who was assigned the Tragarete Road, Port of Spain, station.
At the time of the contracts, Mohammed had distanced himself from allegations that People’s Partnership supporters had benefited from contracts and had pointed out that people close to the Opposition had also benefitted.
He had said the new retailers were essential to NP’s profitability because the company was in the business of fuel distribution, not in running stations.
Mohammed, an accountant, who had worked at KPMG and Coca-Cola according to his LinkedIn profile, replaced Richard Callender, who was fired in April 2011 for extending a $24 million credit facility to a service station owner.