Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has directed the Board of State refinery, Petrojam, to take the necessary actions to recover funds determined to have been misappropriated from the entity’s resources.
This instruction comes in the wake of the Auditor General’s (AG) report into the refinery’s operations, which identified certain administrative and oversight shortfalls.
“Where the Board sees that, for example, payments were made for work on a contract and, by virtue of delays and changes, the contract is terminated… but full payment was made and work not completed… the Board should seek legal advice and prepare to recover such funds through civil means. That is part of the principle of restitution that will ensure that there is accountability,” Mr. Holness emphasised.
He was addressing journalists and other stakeholders during a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Monday (December 10).
Mr. Holness noted that in the past where issues of the magnitude of what occurred at Petrojam were brought to public attention, reports were tabled, “but we have seldom sought to make restitution”.
He emphasised that this is an important principle that the Government must “not just speak about in words, but [put into] practice and reinforce it”.
The Prime Minister further contended that consequent on the Petrojam revelations, Jamaica’s system of governance “can only grow stronger if we establish that there has to be a principle of restitution”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Holness said that every effort will be made to ensure that the relevant committees of Parliament are furnished with the AG’s report.
He advised that the Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives will consult with government members on the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) to ensure that the report is brought to that body’s earliest and most convenient sitting for scrutiny and deliberations.
Mr. Holness also indicated that he is slated to meet with AG, Pamela Monroe Ellis, on Monday afternoon to further discuss some of the recommendations outlined in her report.
He pointed out that the proposals put forward are measures that could be implemented across public bodies.
“We have seen where there could be tweaks as well as profound changes to the structure of governance… that could improve the efficiency of public administration,” Mr. Holness added.