Petrojam responds to corruption claims

(Jamaica Observer) Government sources told the Jamaica Observer Thursday that they are awaiting a response from Venezuela on its offer to repurchase their 49 per cent share in the local oil refinery, Petrojam.

It is understood that during a visit to Jamaica in May, a team from the State-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) met with technical experts from the Ministry of Science, Energy and Techno-logy and Petrojam to discuss the issue.

The meeting ended with an understanding that the Venezuelans would discuss the local proposals on their return to Caracas, and inform the Jamaican ministry on their decision.

The Jamaican Government, which owns the other 51 per cent of the refinery, has been seeking to take full control of Petrojam following the issue of an executive order by US President Donald Trump last year, which imposes sanctions targeting Venezuela and its State-owned entities.

Portfolio Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley said that since the announcement of the executive order, “the relationship between Petrojam Limited and PDVSA has come under intense scrutiny, both locally and internationally”.

In the meantime, the board of Petrojam, which is comprised of three Jamaican and three Venezuelan directors, has issued a release noting their concerns about issues circulating about the level of integrity and professionalism governing the affairs of the refinery.

“As Jamaica’s sole oil refinery, the company supplies a full range of domestic, transportation and industrial petroleum products to our valued customers.

 “As a statutory body and governed, under a Joint Venture Agreement, the company acts with responsibility and transparency, while exercising due diligence in its affairs,” the release said.

According to the release, “At all times the requisite approvals and review channels are utilised for every aspect of the company’s business, including the award of contracts, the provision of donations and the implementation of projects.

“Donations are made to entities, as part of our corporate social responsibility and in an effort to contribute to national development,” it said.

The release said the company is frequently audited by shareholders and routinely audited by reputable firms and the auditor general to ensure that procedures are understood, respected and followed.

“Much has been made about staff compensation at Petrojam. The record will show that the requisite salary ranges as approved by the Ministry of Finance in determining the appropriate remuneration for the recruitment of talent has been maintained.

“Petrojam continues to serve the energy needs of Jamaica, towards economic growth and sustainable development. As Jamaica’s sole oil refinery, the company supplies a full range of domestic, transportation and industrial petroleum products to our valued customers,” the release said.


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