AG to file civil fraud lawsuit on GTL project

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan yesterday said he intends to file a civil fraud and negligence lawsuit against the former Board of Petrotrin for the deal that was made with World Gas Liquids (GTL) once the second arbitration was completed.

On Monday at the UNC’s Monday Night Forum at the Tulsa Trace Hindu School in Penal, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced that Petrotrin has recorded a major legal victory on Monday in arbitration proceedings involving the controversial World GTL Inc and World GTL of St Lucia Limited(GTL) project, started during the People’s National Movement (PNM) administration.
Speaking to Newsday yesterday, Ramlogan who is in Shanghai, China, as part of an official Parliament delegation on State business said the second arbitration will begin early next year in which GTL has sued Petrotrin for $1.5 billion.
He said before leaving for China last week, he met with the legal team, and was pleased with the progress, in their preparation for the second arbitration which, if successful, has the potential to cripple, or bankrupt Petrotrin.
He however expressed confidence that a positive outcome would be in Petrotrin’s favour. In a statement yesterday, Ramlogan said the former Board of Petrotrin could have easily avoided the project failure, if it had complied with the proper standards of corporate governance.
He said the facts of the project revealed a “disturbing and alarming lack of compliance with the essential principles of commercial negotiation, and due diligence.”
Ramlogan said on September 22, 2005, Petrotrin entered into a Project Agreement with WGTL to construct and operate a gas-to-liquid plant on Petrotrin’s refinery compound at Pointe-a-Pierre. That Agreement provided, amongst many other matters, that by July 12 2009 (“the date certain”) the project had to be sufficiently completed to produce a certain amount of diesel. In the event that the required amount of diesel was not produced by that date, the loan became immediately due and payable.
He said the project was mismanaged and did not proceed according to plan, and as a result, there were, incredibly, a total of 33 cost over-runs. In each case WGTL was unable to fund its portion of the cost over-runs. In every case, Petrotrin had to step in with its own funds to pay WGTL’s share of monies due.
In total, Petrotrin paid the staggering sum of over TT$600 million (US $97,107,993) on behalf of GTL in addition to contributions on its behalf of over TT$580 million. At all stages, WGTL refused to transfer to Petrotrin any shares in the Project Company, despite WGTL’s clear obligation so to do.
Declaring that WGTL Inc. and WGTL St. Lucia, breached their respective obligations under the GCA by failing to transfer shares of WGTL Trinidad upon the second anniversary of the date on which each Over-contribution Advance was made, and failing to take the steps required to ensure that such shares were issued. The court ordered WGTL to transfer 9,398,211 common shares of WGTL Trinidad to Petrotrin, to transfer additional common shares of WGTL Trinidad to Petrotrin as compensation for interest accrued on the unpaid Over-contribution Advances, and to pay Petrotrin’s legal costs in a sum totalling some TT$14,588, 875.

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