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Insurance Company wants Gov't to break silence on Petrojam's voided tender process

Published:Monday | June 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell

About eight months after attorneys representing Marathon Insurance Brokers (MIB) wrote to Prime Minister Andrew Holness complaining about Petrojam’s cancellation of a tender process for insurance service without explanation, chairman of the insurance entity, Richard Burgher, says he has not received a response.

In a letter dated November 9, 2017, to the prime minister which was copied to then finance minister Audley Shaw and Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, the company’s attorneys indicated that “in the face of a directive from the Contractor General not to award the contract pending his investigation, the Board of Petrojam, nevertheless sidestepped that directive and opted to extend the placement for a further two years with the existing broker at a cost to the public purse exceeding MIB’s tender by $420 million over the two-year life of the extension…”

“I have carried out my public duty. I have reported it to the (Most) Honourable Prime Minister and the ministers of justice and finance. I have exhausted the avenues available to me, there is nothing more I can do,” an irritated Burgher told The Gleaner.

In a strongly worded letter to Holness, attorneys Grant, Stewart, Phillips and Company wrote: “It should never go unanswered that a Jamaican company, employing scores of Jamaican citizens, can become the target of flagrant and collusive breaches of the public procurement process, enabled by agents of the state, to deny it fair treatment and then the guilty parties go silent despite several letters to the responsible public officers for a reasonable explanation.”

The letter further stated: “Prime Minister, we appeal to your good offices to immediately and expeditiously address these very valid charges, in order to reinforce your commitment to protecting the good name of our country by rooting out graft and corruption in all its forms…”

Burgher yesterday told The Gleaner that in a letter dated February 27, 2017, he wrote to then Contractor General Dirk Harrison detailing what he described as “the unfair and indeed wrongful treatment of our proposal to provide insurance services to Petrojam for the period April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2020.”

The insurance executive requested the intervention of Harrison to “review a recommendation by the actuarial consultant Eckler Consultants in favour of Fraser Fontaine Kong and their corresponding overseas broker.”

On June 5, this year, Burger said that his company also wrote to the Auditor General, Pamela Monroe Ellis. The Auditor General is currently conducting an audit at the state-owned oil refinery.