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Grindley still has access to Petrojam bank account – KD

Former Petrojam General Manager Floyd Grindley reportedly remains a signatory on the company’s bank account and, up to last month, was still able to check the account which had in it more than US$19 million.

The shocking suggestion was made Wednesday during the trial in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court where Grindley and former chairman Dr Perceval Singh are being tried on fraud charges in relation to overseas travel allowances amounting to US$73,620.

Grindley’s lawyer, King’s Counsel K.D. Knight, who quizzed the company’s chief financial officer, Delroy Brown, during cross-examination, sought to place the blame squarely at his feet.

But a defensive Brown, while denying that Grindley was still a signatory, said, while it was the financial treasurer’s duty to ensure that Grindley’s access was lifted, the ultimate responsibility lay with the company’s general manager.

Knight, prior to grilling Brown about who would be authorised to access the bank account and had account-opening powers, asked him about the account in question.

“Would you be able to say whether or not at JMMB (Jamaica Money Market Brokers) on November 8, 2022, at 9:17, Petrojam has an account with US investment of $13, 913,824.15 and another for $5,331, 642.4 and some other miscellaneous?” he asked.

But Brown, while confirming that the company had an account with the bank, said he would not be able to speak to the amount without a report.

“Is Mr Grindley still able officially to access the account?” Knight enquired.

“I don’t know,” Brown quickly answered.

“You don’t know,” Knight asked in an alarmed manner.

“That’s correct. I am not the administrator,” Brown fired back, noting that the financial treasurer was the administrator.

The attorney then asked Brown: “Do you know that to be able to know that Petrojam account has US$18 million, wouldn’t you say, opens the door to fraudulent activities?”

Brown disagreed.

“But you don’t care, do you, that Mr Grindley can access and open the account,” Knight asked, while ascertaining also whether he cared that Grindley could also fraudulently withdraw or pay bills from the account.

The finance executive, however, emphasised that that could not happen as the bank requires two signatories.

Knight then pointed out that his client was a signatory, but this was firmly denied by Brown.

“Are you aware that he can open the account?” Knight continued.

“But that doesn’t mean that he is a signatory,” Brown replied.

“I never asked you that,” Knight told him.

Brown was then asked who should be blamed for Grindley’s ability to view the company’s account, to which he indicated that he would make checks with the financial treasurer.

He also maintained that the financial controller was in charge, despite Knight pressing him about whether he was ultimately responsible as the chief financial officer.

Brown further testified that it was the financial treasurer’s responsibility to ensure that only authorised persons could access the account and that the general manager and the permanent secretary had the final responsibility.

He, however, conceded that he had some responsibility when Knight probed further, but dismissed a suggestion that failure to act on his part would amount to a dereliction of duty.

Instead, he agreed that it would be inefficiency on the part of the company.

“You should be fired. You have absolutely no use,” Knight said.