Sunday 15 December, 2019

Paulwell cites parallels between Petrojam and NESOL

Phillip Paulwell

Phillip Paulwell

Opposition Spokesman on Energy, Phillip Paulwell is drawing parallels between the developments at the state-owned oil refinery Petrojam and the Government-run National Energy Solutions (NESOL).

Allegations of cronyism and nepotism as well as breaches of Government procurement guidelines and questionable practices led to the resignation of the three Jamaican members of the Board at Petrojam on Monday.

The three are the United States-based Chairman Dr Perceval Bahado-Singh, attorney-at-law Harold Malcolm and the Mayor of Port Maria, businessman Richard Creary.

Paulwell is concerned about some of the similarities at the two state-owned entities.

“I am also very concerned about what is happening at NESOL. I believe we’re seeing similar instances such as evidence of nepotism. I have been told and believe that a number of senior people were made to resign at NESOL and have been replaced by unqualified persons occupying senior positions,” Paulwell told Loop News on Monday.

There have been similar charges at Petrojam and a number of employees who have been separated from their jobs now have matters before the courts and the Industrial Disputes Tribunal.

NESOL was thrown into the spotlight when the police on Thursday laid several charges against chief engineer, 33-year-old Lawrence Pommels and 34-year-old mechanic Ricardo Harris.

The two men have been charged with money laundering, possession of criminal property, breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act and bribery. The charges were laid after the police raided and searched two houses at New Harbour Village at Old Harbour, St Catherine on June 7, where $35 million, four high end vehicles and other valuables were seized.

Both men were booked to appear in the St Catherine Parish Court on Tuesday when their attorneys were expected to make bail applications on their behalf.

In light of the developments, Paulwell has repeated his call for officials of NESOL and the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology to appear before Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) to answer questions.

“I believe that it is entirely appropriate for the PAAC to summon the management and the Ministry before the committee for us to also delve into those issues affecting NESOL,” Paulwell said.

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