Petrojam commits to meeting IC rules after four employees charged
STARTING after the Integrity Commission (IC) announced that four of its employees are to be charged for failing to submit their 2019 statutory declarations, the State-owned oil Petrojam Limited on Wednesday indicated that it has instituted measures to reduce the possibility of a recurrence.
According to Petrojam, each of its 255 employees has an individual responsibility to file his or her declaration. However, to encourage full compliance, it has instituted several measures to promote the urgency of this requirement throughout the organisation.
“In collaboration with the Integrity Commission, as early as January of each year, a drop box is placed in the Human Resource Development and Administration Department to facilitate the submission of the declarations. Historically, employees have been able to submit their declarations either directly to the IC’s office or through the IC’s drop box at Petrojam.
“According to the company’s records, last year 215 staff members opted to submit their declarations by way of the drop box,” said Petrojam in a media release.
The company said annually it stages an extensive internal education campaign, as early as December, to promote compliance among staff. Flyers and posters and weekly messages are also sent to staff, reminding them of the March 31 deadline.
“Petrojam has also worked closely with the Integrity Commission to highlight to staff the importance of the timely submission of these reports. The IC has from time to time made presentations to Petrojam’s staff, emphasising the significance of adhering to the Integrity Commission Act and outlining the consequences of non-compliance.
“The last presentation was in 2021. Instructional videos produced by the Integrity Commission, with information on how to complete and submit the forms are also shared with the Petrojam team,” the company said in its release.
“We underline Petrojam’s commitment to continuously raising the bar of transparency and accountability and good governance. We consider the Integrity Commission a valuable partner in accomplishing this goal and will continue every effort to promote compliance with this regulatory requirement among our staff,” added the company.
In a report tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, the IC’s Director of Corruption Prosecution Keisha Prince-Kameka ruled that Petrojam’s customer service representative Wayne Salmon, process engineer Michael Wilkinson, terminal technician Sydney Brown, and administrative assistant Sheryll Blair should all be charged for a breach of Section 43(1)(a) of the Integrity Commission Act for failure to file a statutory declaration for the period ending December 31, 2019.
In the reports, the commission’s Director of Investigation (DI) Kevon Stephenson said all the cited employees, who have a legal obligation to file a statutory declaration with the commission, failed to do so during the review period, without providing reasonable cause.
Stephenson said that, having failed to adhere to that obligation, the four employees were notified by the commission, given time to comply, and when the time for compliance elapsed they were given a further extension, but “to no avail”.
He said they were given a further opportunity to discharge their liability by way of paying a fixed penalty to Tax Administration Jamaica as well as to submit the outstanding statutory declaration to the commission, but, again, without success.
“Based on the foregoing, the DI finds in all of the circumstances of this case that a referral to the director of corruption prosecution is justifiable,” said Stephenson.