Mon | Dec 17, 2018

Holness reviewing Petrojam audit report, to take action

Published:Wednesday | December 5, 2018 | 3:58 PM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness - File photo.

Livern Barrett, Senior Staff Reporter

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is now analysing the report of the Auditor General’s Department (AGD), which has painted a picture of a free-for-all at the state-owned oil refinery Petrojam.

Further, Robert Morgan, Director of Communications in the Office of the Prime Minister, said Holness plans to hold consultations “with the relevant persons and entities having regards to the findings."

However, Morgan could not give a timeline when the analysis and consultations will be completed but delivered an ominous warning.

“At this stage, I am not going to say to you that the Prime Minister is going to issue a statement tomorrow. What we can say to you is that there will be definitive action and there will be a definitive comment on what has been relied on by the Auditor General,” Morgan told The Gleaner today.

“And we are very sure that when that takes place that the people of Jamaica will be confident in the responses and what the additional actions will be,” he continued.

Morgan added:"It is important that we have a process that ensures that when decisions are made, they are made consciously, they are well-reasoned decisions and they are decisions that can withstand scrutiny,” he explained.

Holness returned to the island earlier today after attending the G20 Summit in Argentina and a meeting of CARICOM leaders in Trinidad and Tobago.

Yesterday, the AGD released the findings of a comprehensive audit of Petrojam, which highlighted “explicit acts of nepotism” at the state-run refinery.

The report also pointed to breaches of the government’s procurement guidelines in the award of two contracts totalling $31 million and the expenditure of US$21,000 or J$2.6 million to pay for two “surprise” parties for then energy minister Dr Andrew Wheatley and former Petrojam chairman Perceval Bahado-Singh. 

Main Findings

* High levels of accountable and unaccountable oil losses

* Management’s override of the procurement guidelines

* Poor management of capital investment project and consultancy arrangements

* Inconsistent recruitment and employment practices

* Weakening financial position

*Inadequate oversight and monitoring of Petrojam operations

Conclusion and Recommendation

* The Boards of PCJ, Petrojam and all public bodies should develop a framework document in keeping with the Corporate Governance Framework, to strengthen the governance and management arrangements in their respective entities, over which they have been charged with governance responsibilities.

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