Dragon Gas Deal “questions” after Venezuela Minister resigns amid corruption scandal

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Dragon Gas Deal “questions” after Venezuela Minister resigns amid corruption scandal

Shadow Opposition Energy Minister, David Lee, is calling for transparency regarding the T&T/Venezuela gas deal after Venezuela’s powerful oil minister resigned following the arrest of six high level officials amid a corruption probe at the country’s state owned oil company PDVSA.

Tareck El Aissami submitted his resignation to President Nicolas Maduro yesterday after police reportedly detained a mayor, two judges and three high-level government officials, while at least 20 lower level officials at PDVSA have been arrested in recent days.

The PDVSA arrests were linked to an investigation into oil cargoes leaving the country without due payment to the company, which also has led to other executives being suspended from their posts.

PDVSA suffered heavy losses last year as tankers left Venezuela without proper payments being made for cargo.

New PDVSA boss Pedro Tellechea ordered an audit and suspended oil supply contracts shortly after taking over the role in January.

Mr Lee meanwhile questioned how the development will impact the Government’s Dragon Gas Field talks with Venezuela.

The Pointe-a-Pierre MP raised the question while speaking with News Power Now earlier today.

The arrests are the largest recent crackdown on alleged PDVSA corruption.

Maduro, who has led previous corruption sweeps, said in televised remarks that his government is committed to “going to the root” of corruption, calling the probe which began last year “professional, scientific and disciplined”.

Appearing alongside heavyweights from his cabinet and the ruling party, Maduro added he plans to restructure PDVSA, but did not provide details.

Maduro did not immediately name a replacement for El Aissami.