Jamaica contractor general to probe scrap metal exports

(Jamaica Gleaner) The opposition People’s National Party (PNP) yesterday indicated that it would be turning over information in its possession about the admitted breaches of the scrap-metal ban by the Customs Department to the contractor general’s office.

The party’s spokesman on industry, investment and commerce, Anthony Hylton, gave the undertaking shortly after Contractor General Greg Christie announced that his office was probing the breach which allowed 97 containers of scrap metal to be exported without the required permit from the Trade Board.

“Any information that is in the possession of the Opposition will be turned over to the OCG (Office of the Contractor General) as is requested,” Hylton told The Gleaner.

The PNP indicated on Thursday that it had credible information that several containers of scrap metal, for which export was “facilitated” by former Customs boss Danville Walker, were loaded at sites other than the premises of legitimate scrap-metal generators.

The ministerial order issued at the time the trade was banned in July indicated that only companies that generated scrap metal in the legitimate course of their business would be allowed to export same after securing the required permit from the Trade Board.

However, the Customs Department, which accepted responsibility for the breach after the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce made checks with the Trade Board, blamed it on a “misinterpretation” of the order.

But Christie said the investigation is to unearth the “full particulars” of the entities that were “facilitated” by the Customs Department; the circumstances under which the Trade Board was bypassed; whether any laws were broken and by whom.

 

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