Fri | Mar 5, 2021

WIPL cooperating with ‘duty payment scale’ review

Published:Friday | February 19, 2021 | 12:13 AM
File 
West Indies Petroleum refuels a vessel offshore, a process known as bunkering, in this photo dated October 2020.
File West Indies Petroleum refuels a vessel offshore, a process known as bunkering, in this photo dated October 2020.

Bunkering company West Indies Petroleum Limited, WIPL, put out another short statement on Wednesday, implying that it was under scrutiny by the tax authority over duties, but was vague on the nature of the review. The statement implied the review...

Bunkering company West Indies Petroleum Limited, WIPL, put out another short statement on Wednesday, implying that it was under scrutiny by the tax authority over duties, but was vague on the nature of the review.

The statement implied the review was prompted by mischievous complaints to various agencies, but once again, it raised more questions than it answered – and again WIPL Chairman Gordon Shirley declined to elucidate when asked for clarification. Nor did WIPL indicate which party or parties were creating the alleged mischief.

Commissioner of Taxes Velma Ricketts told the Financial Gleaner that WIPL is not being investigated by the tax department, but that Jamaica Customs Agency does regular assessments of import and export activity as part of its remit.

WIPL imports and distributes fuel.

“I am not aware of any investigation of that company, but even if it were so, that would not be a matter for public consumption,” said Ricketts.

“We do audit of both importers and exporters from time to time to test rates of compliance but, again, that is not a matter that we discuss,” she said.

On Sunday, the WIPL chairman advised that two directors, with combined ownership of 40 per cent of WIPL, had been ousted from the board over what he told the Financial Gleaner were differences regarding the company’s future direction. Both Courtney Wilkinson and John Levy retain their ownership in WIPL.

On Wednesday, WIPL said it was undergoing its regularly scheduled audit, but was facing review on an aspect of its operations by “revenue officials”.

“We are cooperating fully with the procedural review being carried out by revenue officials of our duty payment scale and the regime under which we operate,” said WIPL. “The entity is also currently being audited as per schedule and consistent with best practices. We have freely made information and material available. The material has since been returned.”

As it did on Sunday, the statement on Wednesday declared WIPL to be a stable company on the path to growth and expansion.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com