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Phillips chides PM for "wishy-washy" response to Petrojam audit

Dr. Peter Phillips
 
Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips has described Prime Minister Andrew Holness's response to the audit findings on Petrojam as "wishy-washy".
 
At a press conference which followed one held by the Prime Minister, Dr. Phillips said Mr. Holness had sidestepped the main issues raised by the auditor general.
 
He was also critical of an announcement by the Prime Minister that government ministers will be mandated to meet with the boards under their portfolio on a quarterly basis. 
 
"To now mandate ministers to regularly meet with their boards seems to me to be really mandating something which, to my knowledge, has taken place in administrations going all the way back to 1962.... It is in a sense commonsensical that ministers would be required to inform themselves on matters taking place in their portfolios," he contended. 
 
Dr. Phillips added that Mr. Holness did not go far enough in saying how he will deal with misappropriation of funds at Petrojam. 
 
"I would have expected that the Prime Minister would be calling on the police to act to bring anyone who is criminally responsible to book. I know MOCA is undertaking investigations but I would expect that there are particular instances identified in the report that need specific investigation as to whether resititution would be an adequate response or there would be further criminal actions necessary," he asserted.  
 
The Opposition Leader suggested there might also be need for international assistance to carry out investigations into impropriety at Petrojam.
 
Dr. Phillips said a separate audit is needed of transactions between Petrojam and West Indies Petroleum Limited in relation to the billions in unaccounted for oil.
 
He said those investigations must be carried out by the Major Organised and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) and the Integrity Commission in relation to possible criminal actions such as the flow of funds which may have been diverted overseas or even into local accounts. 
 
Dr. Phillips insisted that the investigations cover the periods of time during which the People's National Party administration was in power as the party has nothing to hide.


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