JMMB apologises for Petrojam USD accounts breach
JMMB head office in New Kingston

JAMAICA Money Market Brokers (JMMB) on Wednesday apologised to Petrojam Limited for inadvertently enabling 'view only' online access to two of its accounts at the financial institution, allowing Floyd Grindley, former general manager of the State-run oil refinery to check the account four years after parting ways with the company.

"We unreservedly apologise to Petrojam for any negative impact and inconvenience that our action has caused. JMMB has had dialogue with Petrojam and we have also reassured them, as we reassure all of our clients that we have taken all the necessary steps to prevent a recurrence of this peculiar and unique matter," a section of an e-mailed statement from JMMB read on Wednesday.

On November 30, 2022, during the fraud trial of Grindley and former Petrojam board chairman Dr Perceval Singh in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court, King's Counsel KD Knight — the attorney representing the former GM — alleged that his client still had access to the accounts up to November 8 at 9:17 am.

Pointing to his client's character, Knight highlighted that Grindley was still a signatory on the accounts worth over US$18 million. He proffered that Grindley could have sought fraudulent means of swindling cash, but did not.

In JMMB's statement, the company said it was aware of news reports regarding Petrojam's accounts and JMMB confirmed that the financial institution received instructions from Petrojam, in 2019, to update the signatories to their account. JMMB claimed that the signatories were updated to reflect only employees of Petrojam.

Following the revelations in court last week, JMMB carried out a thorough investigation and, following the probe, confirmed that on November 7, 2022 at 4:35 pm, view-only access to the accounts had been enabled due to a historical association within the JMMB system. On November 8, 2022 the breach was identified and corrected.

"We wish to highlight that with 'view only' access, no transactions can be conducted. JMMB acknowledges that our unintended action has caused us to fall short of our service delivery commitment to Petrojam and we also recognise that it caused them grave concern," JMMB said.

Last week, Knight grilled chief financial officer of Petrojam Delroy Brown, as to whether Grindley still had access the account.

"You don't care that Mr Grindley has access and can open the account, meaning [he] can go into the computer and say how much is still in the account? He could say, 'my name is on the account; I am a signatory to it' and could fraudulently withdraw or pay bills in Petrojam's account. Are you aware that he can open the account and use the account? Who should be blamed for that if that can happen?" Knight asked Brown, who responded saying that the bank would be responsible if Grindley was still able to access the account.

After Brown was released from giving testimony in the fraud case, two former administrative assistants to Grindley took the stand to testify about disbursement vouchers that Grindley pressed them to sign despite not receiving approval from the board.

Grindley and Singh are on trial in relation to the submission of claims amounting to US$73,620 between December 2016 and May 2018. The claims were made by Singh for overseas travels which were never undertaken. Grindley is alleged to have aided and abetted the ex-chairman in the process used to make the fraudulent claims.

The trial will resume on May 2, 2023.

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