Thu | Jan 18, 2018

FCJ to face heat at PAC

Published:Tuesday | October 11, 2016 | 12:00 AM

The Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) will today come under the microscope of the hard-hitting Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament.

Members of the oversight committee of Parliament are expected to delve deep into a litany of concerns relating to potential fraud and corruption at the public body, which were highlighted earlier this year by Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis.

Committee members are expected to quiz FCJ officials in relation to the $109 million owed by an attorney who sold a property on behalf of the entity in 2011 but is yet to hand over the funds to the corporation.

It was reported that Cabinet gave approval in 2010 for the sale of a property at 76 Marcus Garvey Drive in the sum of $140 million. The instrument of transfer was executed and forwarded to the attorney to carry out the transfer of the property pending subdivision by the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation. However, the attorney has not handed over $70 million received from February 2011 for the sale of the FCJ property. When interest and penalties amounting to $39.6 million are added, the outstanding balance to be paid by the attorney is $109.6 million.

In an address to Parliament in September, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the matter was reported to the General Legal Council, which has jurisdiction to conduct the trial and make an order for restitution, as well as imposing disciplinary action. The Fraud Squad is also conducting an investigation into the matter.

With the appointment of a new board in July 2016, Holness, who is the portfolio minister in charge of the FCJ, said he had charged the new chairman to take the necessary steps to address the issues raised by the auditor general. He also instructed that the recommendations by the Monroe Ellis-led oversight body be implemented to ensure that the issues do not recur.