There are major developments this afternoon in the controversy-hit state-owned oil refinery, Petrojam Limited.
Nationwide News understands that all three Jamaican members of the Petrojam Board of Directors have resigned.
And documents obtained by Nationwide News reveal that Petrojam paid its then Chairman more than $1-million in airline travel expenses in one month.
Our sources say Board Chairman, Dr. Perceval Bahado Singh, submitted his resignation this afternoon to Energy Minister, Dr. Andrew Wheatley.
The other two Jamaican members of the Petrojam Board, Attorney Harold Malcolm and Port Maria’s Mayor, Richard Creary, have also resigned.
It’s understood new Jamaican representatives on the Board are to be appointed shortly. The Petrojam Board also consists of three Venezuelans.
Petrojam has been plagued in recent weeks by allegations of irregular and excessive expenditure at the entity.
Those allegations came to the fore last week when Petrojam General Manager, Floyd Grindley, came under fire at a sitting of Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, PAAC.
PAAC members criticized Mr. Grindley for an arrangement in which Bahado Singh was reimbursed money for a plane ticket to London, which he purchased, but did not make the flight due to bad weather.
In a statement released on Friday, the Energy Ministry said Dr. Andrew Wheatley, said he’s moving to take decisive action to deal with what he describes as grave issues at Petrojam.
Dr. Wheatley’s indication that he’d take action to deal with issues affecting the refinery came shortly after he called Bahado Singh, Creary and Malcolm to a meeting on Friday.
Calls placed this afternoon to Dr. Wheatley were not answered. It’s understood that the Energy Minister is overseas on Government business.
And documents obtained by Nationwide News are revealing that the State-owned oil refinery reimbursed its now former Chairman, Dr. Perceval Bahado-Singh, almost 10-thousand US dollars in airfare, in February this year.
During a recent sitting of Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, PAAC, it was revealed that the Petrojam Chairman, who lives in the US, returned the money the oil refinery reimbursed him for having initially paid the bill for the airline ticket to the UK.
They were both speaking in Parliament last Wednesday during a sitting of the PAAC.
The sizeable sum referenced by Mr. Paulwell forms the lion’s share of the approximately USD$10,000 or JMD$1.3-million, Petrojam repaid the Chairman for the airline ticket.
What wasn’t revealed at that PAAC sitting last week is that the Dr Bahado Singh was reimbursed for another trip
The documents obtained by our News Centre reveal that the chairman was also reimbursed funds he paid for an airline ticket to travel to Jamaica for the re-naming of the Petrojam building in honour of former Prime Minister, Edward Seaga.
According to the documents, a Petrojam cheque for USD$9,684.38 was drawn on March 5, 2018 payable to Dr Perceval Bahado Singh.
Efforts to contact the former Petrojam chairman were unsuccessful.
After having our call transferred from one department to the next, our News Centre was finally told by Petrojam’s Legal Officer, Tamra Robinson, that she couldn’t give us his contact number.