Saturday 15 August, 2020

Former Petrojam GM could be fined or imprisoned - Integrity Commission

Floyd Grindley

Floyd Grindley

The Integrity Commission has said that consideration must given to whether the former General Manager of the scandal-scarred Petrojam oil refinery, Floyd Grindley, breached section 48(3) of the Integrity Commission Act.

This, over Grindley’s refusal to respond, in a timely manner, to the Commission’s Director of Investigations (DI), during the Commission’s probe of the refinery following allegations of corruption and acts of impropriety involving senior staff.

The Commission’s 215 page report with recommendations was tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Although Grindley has reportedly been outside the country since 2018, he faces a fine and time behind bars if found guilty.

According to the Integrity Commission Act, “For the purposes of an investigation, the Director of Investigation shall have the same powers as a Commissioner pursuant to the provisions of the Commissions of Enquiry Act in respect of the attendance and examination of witnesses and the production of documents relation thereto."

The report pointed to sections 11B (2) and (3) of the Commissions of Enquiry Act which state that:

“(2) A person shall not, without reasonable excuse, refuse or fail to produce any book, plan or document that the person was required to produce by a summons under this Act served on the person under section 11 (a).

(3) A person who contravenes subsection (1) or (2) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction before a Resident Magistrate to a fine not exceeding one million dollars or, in default of payment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.”

The Commission noted that on February 27, 2019, the DI, by way of a statutory requisition, wrote to Grindley, requiring that responses be provided to several questions which were material to the DI’s Investigation. The DI’s requisition required a response on or before March 8, 2019. The report said the DI was in possession of information which indicates that Grindley was currently outside of Jamaica.

He reportedly communicated to the DI that he needed additional time to collate information and to obtain legal advice in relation to same, prior to the provision of his response to the DI.

Grindley further advised the DI that he would be able to accurately and completely respond to the DI’s statutory requisition on or before May 31, 2019. This was despite several attempts made by the DI to have the information provided before the date stated above.

A further request for an extension of time to June 24, 2019 was received from Grindley on May 31, 2019. This was granted by the DI on the same day as a final extension of time.

“Upon the expiration of the referenced deadline of June 24, 2019, no response was submitted by Mr Floyd Grindley and/or any other person acting on his behalf. Mr Grindley’s response was provided to the DI on July 23, 2019, twenty-nine days after the expiration of the referenced deadline pursuant to the DI’s statutory requisition,” the report said.

It said that having regard to the former general manager’s failure to comply with the Director of Investigation’s statutory requisition, consideration must be given to whether his actions constituted a breach of relevant laws.

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