ONLINE POLL RESULTS: Both JLP and PNP responsible for Petrojam corruption

Thursday, December 13, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Of the 744 respondents to a recent OBSERVER ONLINE poll 79 per cent said both the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People's National Party (PNP) should be held responsible for the corruption at the State-owned oil refinery Petrojam.

Eleven per cent of the respondents held the JLP solely responsible while 10 per cent said the PNP was responsible.

Petrojam has been embroiled in controversy since the start of the year following allegations of corruption, misuse of State funds, widespread nepotism, victimisation of staff, as well as cost overruns. Minister with portfolio responsibility for the refinery Dr Andrew Wheatley was forced to step down after repeated calls for his resignation by the PNP.

And last Tuesday the controversy deepened drastically following the release of a damning report from the Auditor General's (AG)Office dating back to the PNP's last administration, when Phillip Paulwell was energy minister.

The AG's report revealed high levels of unaccountable oil losses totalling some J$5.2 billion, instances of management overriding procurement guidelines, poor management of capital investment projects and consultancy arrangements, inconsistent recruitment and employment practices, and inadequate oversight and monitoring of operations by the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology.

In response to the report, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced several measures including a forensic audit into the J$5.2 billion worth of oil that has been unaccounted for between 2013 and 2018.

However, Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips rejected what he said are the limited terms-of-reference announced by Holness to guide the forensic audit, calling it a sham.

Meanwhile, the JLP has called for Paulwell's resignation in light of his involvement in the report of corruption which extends to his tenure.

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