Fri | Dec 14, 2018

Munroe: Over to you now, MOCA, Integrity Commission

Published:Thursday | December 6, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Professor Trevor Munroe

Head of National Integrity Action (NIA) Trevor Munroe says it is now time for the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) and the Integrity Commission to complete their investigations into Petrojam and initiate prosecutions where the evidence indicates that necessity.

"In particular, NIA and the public would wish to know what sanctions are available for breaches of the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act and the Public Procurement Act assented to by the governor general on October 5, 2015," he said in a release yesterday.

Munroe noted that the auditor general, in response to public concerns, and the Public Administration Appropriations Committee had discharged their functions admirably.

"The public must insist on decisive action. Failure to enforce the law shall further erode public confidence in the capacity of our democratic institutions to deal effectively with crime and corruption and increase the percentage of our citizenry who believe that governmental authorities are not doing enough to punish wrongdoers in high places."

 

SANCTIONS SHOULD BE APPLIED

 

Munroe stressed that sanctions should be applied and punishment administered to those responsible for egregious breaches set out in the auditor general's report on the operations of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) and its affiliate, the state-owned oil refinery, Petrojam, which was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

The call comes against the background of breaches of good-governance codes, policy, and law, resulting in wastage of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money and a loss of more than $5 billion in a five-year period.

Munroe described the breaches highlighted in the comprehensive audit of Petrojam and the PCJ as a sample of "lawless behaviour and abuse of public funds by Petrojam authorities, aspects of which have been identified in previous auditor general reports of 2007, 2010, and in the Venezuelan Audit of 2017".

The NIA head also frowned on what he described as the "decadent self-indulgence represented in the general manager's approval of payment for a chocolate cake valued at US$1,000 in a country where this far exceeds a month's salary for a hard-working teacher, an officer in the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force), and many public servants".

"Neither the Jamaican prime minister, Cabinet, Parliament, private sector, or man in the street can be at all satisfied by resignations of board members and senior staff against this background. Relevant public bodies and law enforcement must now do their job," Munroe declared.