12 Jun 2024, 11:51

Guyana seeks 'information' after US sanctions gold trader

GEORGETOWN/WASHINGTON, Guyana, June 12, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Guyana said
Tuesday it would seek "additional information" after the United States froze
the assets of one of the South American country's richest men.

The US Treasury Department earlier announced it had sanctioned gold trader
Nazar Mohamed, his son, their company and Guyanese government official Mae
Thomas "for their roles in public corruption in Guyana."

The US agency accuses Mohamed and his son of evading taxes and defrauding the
Guyanese government, as well as bribing customs officials to falsify
documents and facilitate illegal shipments.

Between 2019 and 2023, their company Mohamed's Enterprise "omitted more than
10 thousand kilograms of gold from import and export declarations and avoided
paying more than $50 million in duty taxes to the Government of Guyana," the
office said in a statement.

The corruption, it alleges, was enabled by Guyanese officials such as Thomas.

For its part, the government in Georgetown said it "will be requesting
additional information on the matters highlighted, with a view to aiding
local law enforcement agencies."

It added that Thomas, who was a permanent secretary of the Ministry of Labor,
"has been sent on leave with immediate effect."

Mohamed, who is also a local government official for Guyana's ruling party,
declined to comment.

Tiny Guyana has the world's biggest reserves of crude oil per capita, but the
vast majority of the mineral-rich country's 800,000 people live in poverty.

"Today's action underscores our commitment to holding accountable those who
seek to exploit Guyana's underdeveloped gold sector for personal gain," US
Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian
Nelson said.

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