Nazar Mohamed, son Azruddin, PS Mae Thomas sanctioned by US Treasury Dept

…Govt sends Thomas on immediate admin leave, engaging US regarding sanctions

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Tuesday sanctioned prominent businessman, Nazar Mohamed and his son, Azruddin Mohamed along with their company, Mohamed’s Enterprise, and former Permanent Secretary of the Home Affairs Ministry, Mae Thomas, for their alleged roles in public corruption in Guyana.

Azruddin Mohamed

In addition, Hadi’s World, a subsidiary of Mohamed’s Enterprise and Team Mohamed’s Racing Team has also been sanctioned pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.
“Today’s action underscores our commitment to holding accountable those who seek to exploit Guyana’s underdeveloped gold sector for personal gain,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Treasury, in close coordination with our partners in US law enforcement, will continue to take action to safeguard the U.S. financial system from abuse by corrupt actors,” a release from the US Treasury Dept. stated.

Nazar Mohamed

Further, the release stated that “actions” were conducted in coordination with Homeland Security Investigations New York, Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Strike Force, Diplomatic Security Service, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Intelligence – New York Operations, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Miami Field Office, with assistance from HSI Miami, CBP Miami and New York Field Offices, New York City Police Department Intelligence Bureau, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The US Treasury Dept. also alleged that Mohamed’s Enterprise evaded Guyana’s tax on gold exports and defrauded the Guyanese government of tax revenues by under declaring their gold exports to Guyanese authorities. 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.

Former Home Affairs Ministry Permanent Secretary, Mae Thomas

In addition, the US authorities stated that the company bribed customs officials to falsify import and export documents, as well as to facilitate illicit gold shipments.
“Mohamed’s Enterprise had paid bribes to Guyanese government officials to ensure the undisrupted flow of inbound and outbound personnel that move currency and other items on behalf of Azruddin and Mohamed’s Enterprise.”
Additionally, Mohamed’s Enterprise has paid bribes to corrupt Guyanese government officials to facilitate the award of government contracts.
The OFAC also alleged that while being Permanent Secretary to the Home Affairs Ministry, Mae Thomas used her position to offer benefits to Mohamed’s Enterprise and Azruddin, among others, in exchange for cash payments and high-value gifts.
“Thomas misused her position to influence the award of official contract bids and the approval processes for weapons permits and passports on behalf of Mohamed’s Enterprise.”
As a result of this development, all property and interests in property of the designated persons described above that are in the United States or the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.
“Any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorised by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
“In addition, financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with the sanctioned entities and individuals may expose themselves to sanctions or be subject to an enforcement action. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any designated person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.”
Engaging US on sanctions
Meanwhile, Government of Guyana in a statement on the matter said on Tuesday that the Finance Ministry and relevant statutory agencies including the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), will be requesting additional information on the matters highlighted, to aid local law enforcement agencies.
“The Government of Guyana takes very seriously the claims contained in the press release and will continue to engage relevant United States entities on these matters. In the meantime, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Ms. Mae Thomas has been sent on leave with immediate effect,” a release from the Guyana Government stated.
The Government stated that it will continue to work with the United States government on all matters of mutual interest, including the respect for the rule of law and order.

US State Department
Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon, US State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller said that between 2019 and 2023, Mohamed’s Enterprise omitted more than 10,000 kilograms of gold from import and export declarations and avoided paying more than $50 million in duty taxes to the Government of Guyana.
Tuesday’s actions, he said, support the US Strategy on Countering Corruption which identifies the fight against corruption as a national security priority. “The United States is committed to exposing corruption and promoting accountability for corrupt acts worldwide. We will continue to use the tools at our disposal to protect our financial system from abuse by corrupt actors,” Miller said.