Wed | Nov 14, 2018

Letter of the Day | More questions on Petrojam

Published:Monday | July 9, 2018 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I believe many Jamaicans were relieved to learn of the investigations being undertaken in relation to Petrojam, as well as the comments of the head of National Integrity Action (NIA) on the decision of the prime minister to have retained Minister Andrew Wheatley in the Cabinet, despite the principle that the prime minister had so fiercely articulated in relation to then Minister Richard Azan.

Trevor Munroe, like some others who have spoken on the matter, made a pivotal point in comparing the position adopted by the prime minister in relation to Minister Wheatley and that which he took in relation to Mr Azan.

Munroe cited the Ministerial Code of Conduct that sets out standards expected of ministers and which, among other things, states that a minister is responsible for the policies and operations of ministries.

Professor Munroe suggested that Petrojam was being left to run on autopilot and compared the Wheatley situation with Azan and asserted that the Azan matter was "relatively small" when compared to Wheatley, yet the PM (then opposition leader) took the strongest and most unyielding position on Azan.

In light of this rather soft stance by the PM in relation to Wheatley, a lot of questions arise, the answers to which may be of relevance to the investigations:

(1) While acknowledging that the matter of the dismissal of the former HR manager is with the IDT, what were the bases on which her services were terminated?

(2) What is the role of the current HR manager in the approval process for donations, and what provisions are there to prevent conflict of interest and self-dealing?

(3) Who are the principals of Main Event, and, specifically, do any of the former board members have shares in that company?

(4) Who are the principals of the accounting firm that was engaged by Petrojam, and, specifically, are any past or present board members or members of senior management part owners of that firm?

(5) Given the company's practice of using sole source as its preferred method of local procurement, can the management advise whether companies owned by friends or close relatives of members of the board and/or management were beneficiaries of sole-source contracting and, if so, could you say who are those owners and board members, how many contracts were established, and what was the total value of those contracts?

CANUTE THOMPSON