Warrant was Issued for SBF Director’s arrest after failure to accept service

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See press release issued by the GEA below: 

Relative to the article published in the Kaieteur News dated July 26, 2021 and titled “Magistrate withdraws arrest warrant requested by GEA for fuel dealer” the GEA wishes to clarify the account of Mr. Dorwain Bess’ unnamed Attorney-at-Law with regard to the circumstances surrounding the issue and subsequent recall of a warrant issued for his or her client’s arrest.

The matter against SBF International Inc. (of which Mr. Bess is a Director) concerning the wholesaling of petroleum products without a licence was first called on April 30, 2021.  On that date the complaint and summons relating to the matter had not been served as attempts to serve the company’s Directors at the registered office of the company proved futile.  The address on East Street, the  address of the registered office contained in the documents filed in Commercial Registry, and the address at which the GEA had previously successfully sent mails to the company while it was a licence holder, no longer appeared to house the company.  As a result, attempts were made to serve each Director at his personal address (as stated in the documents filed in the Commercial Registry) along with all other addresses associated with the Directors based on various communication submitted by those Directors.  All such attempts failed.  The Agency even attempted service at the registered office of another company, Alpha Petroleum Trading Inc. at which Bess was stated to be a Director, however, this too proved futile.  

On June 4, 2021, the GEA’s Prosecutor led the Investigator in his evidence of all attempts made to serve the company, and an application for an arrest warrant was granted by the Hon. Magistrate. There was no allegation by the Prosecutor or the Investigator that the summons was personally served.  In fact, the application was made and granted on the basis that there appeared to be attempts to avoid service, a statutory ground on which an arrest warrant can be issued. The warrant was lawfully issued by a Court of competent jurisdiction and any challenge to the said warrant must be by the proper legal channels and not through the media.

The matter was again called on July 2nd, 2021 and a further adjournment to July 30th, 2021 was granted as the warrant had not been issued.  Prior to the adjourned date, the Defendant Bess presented himself in Court, seemingly having been told of the warrant’s issuance and the warrant was recalled.  GEA was not present on Court that day, as it had no knowledge of the Defendant’s intention to appear.  

The recalling of warrants where Defendants present themselves is a usual practice and ought not to be represented as an act of malice or impropriety on the part of the Complainant or the Honourable Court, as the Defendant Bess has sought to imply. Again, if Mr. Bess was dissatisfied with the issuance of the warrant there is legal recourse open to him of which his unnamed Attorney must be aware.

SBF International Inc.’s Principal Director, Dorwain Bess

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