Sun | Feb 18, 2018

Chinese Embassy shocked by allegations contractors paid PNP bribes

Published:Wednesday | August 31, 2016 | 5:09 PM
The Chinese Embassy says the country’s laws and policies expressly prohibit Chinese companies from donating to any foreign political parties.

Debbie-Ann Wright, Editor - Radio

The Chinese Embassy in Jamaica says it’s shocked by allegations that Chinese companies paid bribes to the People’s National Party (PNP) while the party formed the Government.

The allegation that Chinese companies carrying out projects in Jamaica paid 'agent fees' is the latest development in the campaign finance scandal rocking the PNP.

The scandal deepened yesterday when senior PNP member, Dr Omar Davis publicly rejected allegations by party general secretary Paul Burke that 'agent fees' collected from a large Chinese contractor were not paid into the PNP's coffers.

LISTEN: Paul Burke and Dr Omar Davies at www.soundcloud/JamaicaGleaner

Davies also denied knowledge about any requirement for agent fees.

Today when The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre contacted the Chinese Embassy in Jamaica, its Economic and Commercial Counsellor, Fan Jianghong, said he was shocked by the allegation.

In an email response Fan said the embassy was not aware of Chinese companies in Jamaica giving donations to political parties.

IN PHOTO: Dr Omar Davies

He also said his country’s laws and policies expressly prohibit Chinese companies from donating to any foreign political parties.

Subsequent questions on whether the embassy would be investigating the matter were unanswered up to news time.

At least two senior members of the PNP have said they are not aware of any such practice within the party.

However, the general secretary has not withdrawn his statements.

IN PHOTO: Kevin O'Brien Chang

Political commentator Kevin O’Brien Chang has called for the contractor general to probe the claim.

Chang says the current allegation that the PNP took donations from Chinese companies given local contracts is similar to the Trafigura scandal that hit the party in 2006.

At that time, the Dutch company Trafigura Beheer, which had an oil-lifting contract with the then PNP administration, gave an alleged $31 million donation to the party.

Dutch laws prohibit the company from making donations to foreign political parties and the matter is now before the courts.