A&V Oil and Gas Ltd stands to receive an estimated $84 million in cash being held in escrow, at the close of an arbitration ruling involving the now-defunct State-owned energy company Petrotrin.
The ruling was made by an arbitration tribunal headed by Sir Dennis Byron, former president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), and included Lord David Hope, and retired judge Humphrey Stollmeyer.
In the unanimous decision earlier this month, the tribunal found that the claimant (A&V Oil) is entitled to payment of the sum of $84,699,879.47 for unpaid invoices between June 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017, together with a rate of interest of three per cent per annum from the due date of each invoice, until the date when the principal sum was paid into escrow.
Additionally, A&V Oil is entitled to payment in the sum of US$2,284,398.40 in respect of the amounts invoiced for crude oil supplied between January 1, 2018, and February 28, 2018, together with a rate of interest of three per cent per annum from the due when each payment fell due, until the date of the court’s award.
In September 2017 Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar cited an internal audit of Petrotrin which indicated the State-owned oil company had paid $100 million to A&V Oil & Gas—which is owned by Haniff Baksh—for oil which was not supplied.
A&V’s contract was terminated by Petrotrin following an investigation on December 22, 2017, in a bid to “protect its interests”.
In the ruling, the three arbiters held that Petrotrin failed to establish A&V engaged in seal tampering or any inappropriate practices in the process of delivering crude oil and was entitled to payment.
They also held that Petrotrin did not have reasonable grounds for suspecting that A&V misconducted itself and was entitled to compensation for the wrongful termination of the agreement.
It was also held that Petrotrin’s counter-claim that the company did not have reasonable grounds for suspecting A&V engaged in fraudulent activity did not have reasonable grounds.
Following this, a legal team led by Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj SC has been seeking arbitration on the matter on behalf of A&V Oil.