On January 13, 2012, the Guyana Energy Agency, represented by Special Prosecutor, Gino Persaud, secured a conviction against Delon Prashad at the Charity Magistrate’s Court before Magistrate Leron Daly.

The defendant was charged with being in possession of one hundred and seventy gallons of illegal gasoline and now faces a fine of eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000) or imprisonment for a period of one year. Though the defendant failed to appear in court on this and previous occasions, the prosecution continued ex parte resulting in his conviction.

This conviction is testimony to the GEA’s rigorous prosecutorial stance in punishing offenders to deter further contravention of the law. This ruling now brings to 11 the number of successful convictions from prosecutions completed as at January 2012 ending. With several ongoing matters before the Courts, the GEA is poised to attain an even higher rate of conviction by the end of 2012. This recent phenomenon of increased success before the Courts is the product of legislation that was novel to the region and serves as a signpost that we have gotten it right.

From the inception of the Fuel Marking Programme launched in 2003, there has been increased sampling and testing of fuel from year to year. Last year saw great success with a decrease in the number of instances of illegal fuel detected compared to previous years. Further, the GEA reiterated its intolerance for the possession, transportation, storage and sale of illegal fuel through the robust provisions embedded in the GEA (Amendment) Act 2011. .

The GEA thanks those who continue to support its fight against fuel smuggling and would like to encourage all persons who may have information relating to fuel smuggling and possession of illegal fuel to contact the Agency at 226-0394 or 624-5905.

Remember, fighting smuggling is everybody’s business! Illegal fuel ends up in mining camps, logging operations, agricultural machinery and motor cars. There are no checks on the quality of smuggled fuel and contaminants such as dust, water and other particles can cause serious damage to engines and other equipment leading to high maintenance and replacement costs. Further, those who smuggle and those who are comfortable using suspected smuggled fuel are robbing the nation of revenue.