FCJ to face heat at PAC

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

THE FAC­TO­RIES Cor­po­ra­tion of Ja­maica (FCJ) will to­day come un­der the mi­cro­scope of the hard­hit­ting Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee (PAC) of Par­lia­ment.

Mem­bers of the over­sight com­mit­tee of Par­lia­ment are ex­pected to delve deep into a litany of con­cerns re­lat­ing to po­ten­tial fraud and cor­rup­tion at the pub­lic body, which were high­lighted ear­lier this year by Au­di­tor Gen­eral Pamela Monroe El­lis.

Com­mit­tee mem­bers are ex­pected to quiz FCJ of­fi­cials in re­la­tion to the $109 mil­lion owed by an at­tor­ney who sold a prop­erty on be­half of the en­tity in 2011 but is yet to hand over the funds to the cor­po­ra­tion.

It was re­ported that Cabi­net gave ap­proval in 2010 for the sale of a prop­erty at 76 Mar­cus Gar­vey Drive in the sum of $140 mil­lion. The in­stru­ment of trans­fer was ex­e­cuted and for­warded to the at­tor­ney to carry out the trans­fer of the prop­erty pend­ing sub­di­vi­sion by the Kingston and St An­drew Cor­po­ra­tion. How­ever, the at­tor­ney has not handed over $70 mil­lion re­ceived from Fe­bru­ary 2011 for the sale of the FCJ prop­erty. When in­ter­est and penal­ties amount­ing to $39.6 mil­lion are added, the out­stand­ing bal­ance to be paid by the at­tor­ney is $109.6 mil­lion.

In an ad­dress to Par­lia­ment in Septem­ber, Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness said the mat­ter was re­ported to the Gen­eral Le­gal Coun­cil, which has ju­ris­dic­tion to con­duct the trial and make an or­der for resti­tu­tion, as well as im­pos­ing dis­ci­plinary ac­tion. The Fraud Squad is also con­duct­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter.

With the ap­point­ment of a new board in July 2016, Hol­ness, who is the port­fo­lio min­is­ter in charge of the FCJ, said he had charged the new chair­man to take the nec­es­sary steps to ad­dress the is­sues raised by the au­di­tor gen­eral. He also in­structed that the rec­om­men­da­tions by the Monroe El­lis-led over­sight body be im­ple­mented to en­sure that the is­sues do not re­cur.

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