All transactions between Govt & the Mohameds suspended

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Businessmen Nazar Mohamed and his son, Azruddin (OilNow photo)

President Dr Irfaan Ali on Thursday said all transactions between the Guyana Gold Board and other government agencies with the US-sanctioned Mohameds have been suspended.

“Everything is suspended, all transactions with the Gold Board and everything is suspended,” the President told reporters at a press conference at State House.

Businessmen Nazar Mohamed and his son, Azruddin, along with three of their businesses were last week slapped with sanctions from the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Already, government has suspended the family’s cambio licence in response to the sanctions.

And while he is unsure if the businessmen’s gold licence has been suspended, the President noted that the process is ongoing to protect the country’s financial system.

In a statement on June 11, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that it sanctioned members of one of Guyana’s wealthiest families, Nazar Mohamed and his son, Azruddin Mohamed, their company, Mohamed’s Enterprise, and a Guyanese government official, Mae Thomas (Thomas), for their roles in alleged public corruption in Guyana. The statement referred to the evasion of taxes on gold exports noting that between 2019 and 2023, 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.

Even as the government is awaiting a full report from the US on the gold smuggled out of Guyana and other details of their investigation, President Ali said aside from the Guyana Gold Board, “all other agencies, in keeping with the sanctions, would have ended or paused relationship [with the businessmen] and there is an ongoing process among and within agencies…in relation to the Mohameds and the sanctions.”

The investigation into the Mohameds family and their businesses has been ongoing for several years.

Asked on Thursday whether the lack of information sharing during this investigation is a cause for concern regarding Guyana’s relations with the US, the President responded in the negative. He said, “the US is a strategic partner with Guyana, the US is supporting our military…the relationship with the US is one that is expanding and one that will continue to expand.”

Meanwhile, Nazar Mohamed, who was elected a councillor on the Eccles/Ramsburg Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), has since resigned.