Fri | Dec 14, 2018

PetrojamReport: Gov't members shut down request for PAC meeting to discuss audit findings

Published:Saturday | December 8, 2018 | 11:05 AM
Golding...the AGD audit is a matter of intense public interest and deserves our urgent attention

The government members of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) have shut down a request for an urgent meeting next Tuesday to discuss the damning findings of an audit of the state-owned oil refinery Petrojam and its parent company, Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ).

The request was made by chairman of the PAC, Mark Golding, in a letter to the Parliament on Wednesday, which was copied to all members of the committee.

Yesterday, Golding, the Opposition Member of Parliament for South St Andrew, revealed that one government member of the committee responded in an email to the Parliament indicating that “none of the government members are available for the meeting next Tuesday.”

In addition, he said the email indicated that the government members, who constitute a majority of the committee, “are not in support of the meeting being convened.”

The audit, which was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, details, among other things, “explicit acts of cronyism” and breaches of the government's procurement guidelines.

It also revealed that former general manager of Petrojam, Floyd Grindley, approved payments totalling just over US$21,000 or J$2.6 million for two 'surprise' parties, held nearly three months apart at hotels in Montego Bay, St James, for then energy minister Dr Andrew Wheatley and Perceval Bahado-Singh, who was the chairman of Petrojam at the time.

The PAC chairman said the response from the government members was not surprising.

“It is dangerous, but unfortunately not surprising that this government is trying to use its majority on the PAC to block the meeting from going ahead,” he said.

“That report contains an unprecedented litany of shocking revelations of gross nepotism, maladministration, procurement violations and outright corruption. It is a matter of intense public interest and deserves our urgent attention,” Golding added.

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