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JAMAICA | Cabinet Appoints new Petrojam Board, Summons Management

Featured New Chairman of Petrojam Paul Hoo New Chairman of Petrojam Paul Hoo
KINGSTON, June 19, 2018 - Following public criticism over reported irregularities at the island's sole oil refinery, and a demand by the PNP for intervention by Prime Minister Holness, Cabinet has summonned the permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy as well as the senior management at Petrojam to attend next week's meeting of the Cabinet to respond to allegations of mismanagement at the State-run oil refinery.
A release Tuesday afternoon from the Cabinet Office said the issues affecting Petrojam were discussed by the Cabinet on Monday night.
 
The Cabinet also approved the appointment of Businessman and former Chairman of Supreme Ventures Limited,  Mr. Paul Hoo, as Petrojam's new Board Chairman, while two former Vice Presidents of Scotia Bank, Rose Pilner and Wayne Powell have been appointed directors to the Board of Petrojam.
 
The Cabinet has directed the Cabinet Secretary to task the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology to prepare a report on the operations of Petrojam with specific attention to various allegations in the public domain.
 
The report is to be ready for the next meeting of Cabinet where it is expected that the Permanent Secretary and the senior management team of Petrojam will attend and present the report.
 
In a statement responding to the cabinet decision today, PNP Shadow Minister of Energy, Mr Phillip Paulwell said it is inappropriate to task Ms Alexander with such a role because it is clear that some of the breaches in the PetroJam crisis stem from managerial and oversight weaknesses in the Ministry, for which Ms Alexander must take responsibility.
 
Investigation, therefore, is an inappropriate role for the Accounting Officer who should be telling the country what she knew and when on many of the reported breaches.
 
The Shadow Minister says the cabinet should ‘wheel and come again’ and set up a transparent mechanism which will be able to ensure that the corruption is discovered and rooted out and whoever is responsible is identified and punished.  
 
He said the Opposition absolutely repudiates the Cabinet’s decision to designate Ms Alexander as the investigator because it does not inspire public confidence that the government is serious about the investigation rather than setting up an escape hatch for their ministerial colleagues.
 
It said Ms Alexander in her role as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy is the accounting officer, responsible for the day-to-day and overall management of entities falling under the ministry, such as PetroJam.
 
Richard Creary, Harold Malcolm and Dr. Perceval Bahado Singh resigned as directors on Monday, in the wake of growing allegations regarding the refinery's operations.
 
In his resignation letter, Mr. Creary stated that the board had not met in the last nine months due to the unavailability of the Venezuelan directors.
 
There has been public outrage about millions paid by Petrojam to two firms under questionable circumstances, the human resource manager's $12 million annual salary as well as travelling expenses incurred by the chairman.
 
Concern has also been raised about the massive cost overrun on the construction of a wall at the refinery, millions of dollars in donations and the high staff turnover.


 

Last modified onTuesday, 19 June 2018 21:16
  • Countries: Jamaica

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