Mayor demands Integrity Commission withdraw 'flawed' Petrojam report

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Mayor demands Integrity Commission withdraw 'flawed' Petrojam report

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, July 11, 2020

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Port Maria Mayor Richard Creary is demanding that the Integrity Commission withdraw what he describes as its “deeply flawed” report on its investigation of alleged corruption at Petrojam that it tabled in Parliament last week.

Following the commission's admission that it made an error in its claim that Creary was part of the panel which selected Floyd Grindley as Petrojam general manager, the mayor yesterday argued that the credibility of the report has been called into question since it is based, not on facts, but misinformation, innuendos, opinions and guesses.

“I have already categorically denied any wrongdoing on my part as it relates to Petrojam. It is not enough for them to tell lies on me then say subsequently that they erred. The commission must retract the report immediately as the report is now totally lacking in credibility,” said Creary as he demanded a public apology from the commission.

“A report must not consist of opinions, guesses or innuendos and conclusions based on clairvoyance or abject stupidity, but on actual facts. It would serve the public interest well if the commission would explain what action it plans to take against those who have prepared this flawed and dubious report that has caused such damage to my reputation and has sought to malign my character,” added Creary, a former Petrojam board member.

Creary, a deputy general secretary of the governing Jamaica Labour Party, said he will be taking legal action against the commission as the report has caused undue stress and damage to his reputation and has raised a number of unnecessary questions surrounding his unblemished career in politics.

He said he is distraught with the personnel at the Integrity Commission who prepared the report and “finds it reprehensible that an organisation such as this would see it fit to cause such reckless damage with what seems like preconceived notions in mind. The commission should be held accountable to the same standard that they are supposed to be promoting”.

In the meantime, attorneys representing former Petrojam executive Telroy Morgan have sought to distance him from any wrongdoing in the donation of $2 million to Munro College in 2017.

In its report tabled in Parliament, the commission said that the then Petrojam General Manager Floyd Grindley improperly inserted himself in the process by his “unauthorised” recommendation of the $2-million grant to Munro College.

The commission's report further questioned whether there was a conflict of interest in the donation as the request was submitted to the State entity by Morgan who was, at the time, the first vice-president of Munro College Old Boys' Association (MCOBA).

But in a release yesterday the attorneys representing Morgan said he had instructed them “to bring clarity to certain pieces of information in the public domain which [have] caused a series of unfortunate interpretations arising from the [Integrity Commission's] report in general, and that of the contribution to Munro College in particular”.

According to the attorneys, Munro College celebrated its 160th anniversary in 2016 and to commemorate this milestone the MCOBA, along with the school's administration, took the decision to establish a continuing drive in an effort to raise much-needed funds to assist in improving and maintaining the very aged and priceless infrastructure at the all-boys' high school in St Elizabeth.

The attorneys said letters were dispatched to several individuals and entities in Jamaica and the Diaspora seeking support for its initiative.

“In or around March 2017, one such letter was dispatched to Petrojam. Similarly to other letters, highlighted therein, was the aim to raise the sum of $160 million reflective of, and in keeping with, the anniversary celebrations.

“It must be emphasised that there was no specific sum requested and that the quantum of the donation, if any, was left to the discretion of Petrojam. One of the projects to be completed was the rehabilitation of the three tennis courts domiciled in the centre of the campus.”

The attorneys further declared that the request was delivered to Grindley by Morgan, who disclosed his association with the MCOBA.

“Once the letter was delivered our client, who was at the material time the production manager at Petrojam, had no further involvement nor was he privy to the deliberation and approval processes.

“He was subsequently advised and verily believe that the full board of Petrojam (including the Venezuelans) had approved a donation in the sum of $2 million,” said the attorneys as they pointed to page 139 of the commission's report which “corroborates and lists the names of the six directors who oversaw, signed the resolution, and had full authority to approve the donation”.

They argued that Morgan abided by the letter and spirit of the law in relation to his request to Petrojam on behalf of MCOBA.


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