Betamax Case: Soomarooah Implicates Xavier Duval & Mahen Gowressoo

An investigation was opened to shed light on the circumstances that led to the agreement between the ex-government and the firm Betamax for the transport of fuel. The investigators of the CCID had interrogated the ex-managing director of the State Trading Corporation (STC), Ranjit Singh Soomarooah, on the 9th of April. The latter explained that Mahen Gowressoo and Xavier-Luc Duval who were ministers of the PTr at that time were involved in the deal concluded in 2010.


Ranjit Singh Soomarooah arrested by CCID investigators

The contract that was signed between the ex-government and the company Betamax that governed fuel transport was put under the microscope by the authorities after the Minister of Good Governance, Roshi Bhadain asserted that the legal procedures were not respected. The investigators had previously arrested Ranjit Singh Soomarooah, the ex-managing director of the government-controlled company regulating trade, STC, on Wednesday. He had then appeared in the court of Port-Louis under a provisional charge of having conspired with Mahen Gowressoo to wrongfully give preference to Veekram Bhunjun, the Chief Executive Officer of Betamax.

The accused Soomarooah had then related his version of the different steps that led to the conclusion of the contract which were supervised by the ex-Minister of Commerce. Producing certain documents as evidence, he explained that Mahen Gowressoo had pressurised him for the STC to grant the contract to Betamax, a subsidiary company of the Bhunjun family, whose son-in-law Rajesh Jeetah was a minister at that time.

Soomarooah also stated that Xavier-Luc Duval had reviewed the figures provided by the authorities, obtained from a feasibility study. He added that the instructions were communicated to him in writing by the Permanent Secretaries, Soopramanien Kandasamy Pather from the then-Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Rechad Hossen from the Ministry of Commerce (Noorani Oozeer was excluded from his narrations). Furthermore, he said that the State Law Office was consulted to ensure that the procedure was followed.

The ex-managing director of the STC is to be liberated on parole today. His interrogation will continue when his lawyer, Rama Valayden, who has currently taken a case to the Privy Council, will return to Mauritius.


Ranjit Singh Soomarooah with his lawyer, Rama Valayden

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