Petrojam scandal and alleged corruption. Should Floyd Grindley be investigated by (MOCA)?
On June 13/2018 the General Manager of Petrojam Limited (http://www.petrojam.com/about-us) Floyd Grindley and his committee members were summoned to the Jamaican Parliament to be questioned on what some deemed as corrupt activities within Petrojam under the management of the General Manager Floyd Grindley. The questioning sessions went on for a little over 3 hours and 31 minutes.
He was asked about a number of budgetary spending, monies provided by the Jamaican government. One amount was one hundred million Jamaican dollars provided by the government and there was some discrepancy and confusion on the monetary expenditure.
Another issue was an Airline ticket in the amount of 1700 US dollars. The money was for a Chairman of Petrojam to travel to London. The Chairman did not go to London because of weather problems. Nevertheless, the money was reimburse to the Chairman.
Floyd Grindley claim the money was reimburse to the Chairman because the Chairman purchased the ticked with his own money. This however, is a breach of government policy as Chair people should not use their own money for government business. The ticked should have been purchased by the government body and therefore if the chairman did not attend the meeting in London, the government would have done an in-house assessment of the monetary damages.
There was a number of other issues discussed and it was clear from the Parliament questioning, the General Manager Floyd Grindley seem confuse, ill-informed and could not answer most of the questions put to him.
The Opposition People’s National Party, (PNP) has calls for MOCA probe of corruption allegations at Petrojam Limited. According to Loop News, the PNP made the call on Wednesday June 21, a day after the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) indicated that the Cabinet had instructed the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, Hillary Alexander, to prepare a report on the operations of Petrojam, with specific attention to “various allegations in the public domain”. Allegations include cronyism, nepotism as well as breaches of Government procurement guidelines.
http://www.loopjamaica.com/content/pnp-calls-moca-probe-corruption-allegations-petrojam Three Jamaican board members to hand in letters of resignation. It has been confirmed that directors Harold Malcom and Richard Creary along with the chairman, Perceval Badahoo-Singh has resigned. This comes two months after the opposition raised several concerns in Parliament regarding the state-owned oil refinery including reports of mismanagement, nepotism, victimization and failure to follow proper procedure when handing out contracts. The opposition representatives and to a larger extent the Jamaican public are curious as to why a Perimeter wall that was estimated by the National Work Agency to cost roughly 30 million dollars, ended up costing the company 96.8 million dollars.
Why and how Asha Corporation, an American company, was contracted for consultancy and other services and why payment was made to a consultant of the company and not to the company itself. Also, questions were raised about why established procedures were not followed when the said airline ticket of US $1700 with additional travel expenses amounting to US $8000 (1 million Jamaican dollars) were purchased for the board chairman, Dr. Perceval Badahoo-Singh to attend a function in London on the company’s behalf in February. Having not attended the meeting, questions were raised as to why the chairman did not refund the money for the ticket until last week when the matter was brought up in Parliament by the opposition representatives. Another point of contention was the employment of a human resource manager whose salary was in excess of $12,000,000 dollars. The opposition questioned her qualifications and why she was being overpaid.
Currently, the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) are seeking more answers on a number of these issues and also an answer to the fact that the company chose to employ overseas based personnel when the specific services being rendered were available locally.
Some in the Jamaican Media has labelled the scandal PETROSCAM. They are calling for actions to be taken immediately and suggested that “it is time to lock up the crooks in high positions”.
In a recent video the Prime Minister Andrew Holness said all members of government was on notice against corruption. He also stated, that MOCA was created for this specific reason.
The Jamaican public will be watching patiently to see how he will respond to this scandal under his government. It will be a testament to his leadership in how the react to this matter.