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Posted: Tuesday 11 June, 2024 at 5:07 PM

US slaps sanctions on prominent Guyanese business family and Permanent Secretary

By: Staff Reporter,

    ...Guyana Government issues statement


    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The United States Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on a sitting government Permanent Secretary in Guyana and a prominent business family over allegations of corruption and tax avoidance exceeding $50 million.


    The US State Department announced that sanctions were placed on Nazar Mohamed, his son Azruddin Mohamed, their company Mohamed’s Enterprise, and Mae Thomas, the former Permanent Secretary to Guyana’s Minister of Home Affairs and the current Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Labour, for their involvement in public corruption in Guyana. Additionally, two entities, Hadi’s World and Team Mohamed’s Racing Team, were flagged for being owned or controlled by Mohamed’s Enterprise and Azruddin Mohamed.


    The Treasury Department issued these sanctions under Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and enforces the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, targeting perpetrators of severe human rights abuses and corruption worldwide.


    ““Between 2019 and 2023, Mohamed’s Enterprise omitted more than ten thousand kilograms of gold from import and export declarations and avoided paying more than $50 million in duty taxes to the Government of Guyana. To perpetuate and conceal this scheme, Mohamed’s Enterprise engaged in extensive bribery of government officials. This activity served to enrich the corrupt actors involved, undermine Guyanese institutions, and deprive the people of Guyana of important revenues,” stated the State Department in a media release.


    Regarding Mae Thomas, the sanctions allege that she “misused her position as Permanent Secretary to the Guyana Minister of Home Affairs from October 2020 to August 2023 to offer benefits to Mohamed’s Enterprise and Azruddin in exchange for cash payments and high-value gifts.”


    The US emphasized that these actions align with the U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption, which identifies the fight against corruption as a national security priority. The US remains committed to exposing corruption and promoting accountability for corrupt acts worldwide.


    Following the announcement, the Government of Guyana issued a statement acknowledging the press release from the US Department of the Treasury dated June 11, 2024, which informed them of the sanctions against three Guyanese nationals and entities by the Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).


    The government noted that relevant agencies within the country, including the Revenue Authority and the Ministry of Finance, will request additional information on the matter “with a view to aiding local law enforcement agencies.”


    “The Government of Guyana takes very seriously the claims contained in the press release and will continue to engage relevant United States entities on these matters,” the Government said in a media statement.


    Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Mae Thomas, has been sent on leave with immediate effect. 




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