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Calls for Prime Minister to intervene in controversy at Petrojam

Phillip Paulwell
A call is now being made for Prime Minister Andrew Holness to intervene as controversy deepens at the State-run oil refinery Petrojam.
 
Phillip Paulwell, Opposition Spokesman on Energy, has characterised the situation at Petrojam as one that has developed into a scandal based on the latest developments to emerge on Monday.

Mr. Paulwell told RJR News that it was unacceptable that there has been no statement from the Government in the wake of the turn of events, with the three Jamaican members of the Petrojam board resigning.

“And I do believe that this leaves many more questions to be answered,” he said.

Richard Creary, one of the now former board members, revealed in his letter of resignation that the board had not met for the last nine months.

That, Mr. Pulwell said, was “scandalous and outrageous, for a corporation that is so crucial to the economic life of our country.”

The Government should immediatley make public the preliminary findings of  its investigation into the operations of  the refinery, he said.

Several specific issues of concern have arisen in recent weeks in relation operations at Petrojam: a J$13 million retainer the company paid to a firm for entertainment and public relations services, the $12 million annual salary granted to the human resource manager, the engagement of an overseas consultant for a project which, the Opposition argues, could have been done by the oil refinery's parent company, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.

Floyd Grindley, Petrojam's General Manager, came under fire from some members of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee last week when he was unable to provide satisfactory answers regarding the concerns raised.

PSOJ CALLS
 
The President of  the Private Sector Organisation of  Jamaica, Howard Mitchell, has also called for disciplinary action to be taken against the board and management of  Petrojam if allegations of  financial impropriety at the entity are found to be true.
 
Mr. Mitchell told RJR News that the situation at Petrojam "indicates a severe lack of prudent management on the part of the board."
 
He said immediate action must be taken in relation to that board as well as others. This is with a view of saving taxpayers money.
 
On Friday, Dr. Wheatley summoned the three Jamaican directors on Petrojam's Board to discuss what he said were several grave and troubling matters at the refinery. The details of  the discussion have not been disclosed by the Government.
 

 


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