Mon | Feb 17, 2020

PAC questions if Ramharrack contract was doctored

Published:Thursday | February 14, 2019 | 12:24 AM

The employment contract for former Petrojam HR manager Yolande Ramharrack, which was made public this week, appears to contradict another job letter that executives at the scandal-scarred state-owned oil refinery sent to a parliamentary committee last year.

According to the contract, which was tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Ramharrack’s employment took effect on February 13, 2017, at an annual salary of $12.97 million.

The letter, which was dated January 30 2017, also indicated that her probationary period had been immediately waived and that “you will be placed on the permanent staff of the company with effect from February 13, 2017”.

These contractual terms, the parliamentary Opposition charged yesterday, are in stark contrast to what was outlined in another job letter, which was sent to Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) last June by executives at Petrojam,

In that letter, also dated January 30, 2017, Ramharrack’s date of employment was listed as February 13, 2017, at an annual salary of $10.5 million, and indicated that she was required to serve a probationary period of four months.

The disparities in the two letters triggered charges by Opposition members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, during a meeting yesterday, that the letter tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday “seems to have been doctored”.

PAC Chairman Mark Golding, in an unusual move, yesterday issued a warning to public officials about the penalties prescribed in law for persons who mislead the Parliament or any of its committees.

“We were told in the Parliament that the officer (Ramharrack) was employed initially at a certain salary, and six weeks later, the salary was increased to a certain amount. Now this document tabled by the prime minister yesterday (Tuesday) suggests that we have some PhDs working at Petrojam who are good at spin because this particular document presented to Parliament seems to have been doctored,” charged Dr Morais Guy.

“It is indeed unfortunate that two conflicting documents, both dated the same date, have been tabled,” Golding observed.

Winston Watson, acting general manager of Petrojam, explained that two letters were written to the former human resource manager, the first of which provided the $10.5 million salary.

“Subsequent to that, the letter was changed to the new amount, which is what was tabled [in the House of Representatives],” Watson said, explaining that salary increases of nine per cent and five per cent accounted for the difference in the remuneration.