Why did MOCA, RPD raid businessman's house, office? » EntornoInteligente

Why did MOCA, RPD raid businessman’s house, office?

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All received by the Post Clearance Audit Unit will be kept in the strictest of confidence in accordance with Section 4 (a) of the Customs Act.”

There were unconfirmed reports last week that Customs had withdrawn the company’s earlier Special Economic Zone clearance, but this could not be substantiated by the state agency

It remains unclear as to why state agencies Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) and Revenue Protection Division (RPD) carried out raids at the home and office of a director of bunkering and fuel company West Indies Petroleum Limited (WIPL) earlier this month. The simultaneous raids kept the spotlight on the private company recently, following the removal of two directors from its board.

Operatives of the seven-year-old MOCA and RPD, which falls under the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service swooped down on the residence and offices of West Indies Petroleum director Gerald Charles Chambers on February 12, a mere three days after the company decided by majority vote at an extraordinary general meeting that two members of the board — John Levy and Courtney Wilkinson — would be removed, though they remain shareholders.

A MOCA source confirmed that the search was conducted at both premises on February 12, and that documents and computers were seized. “We cannot say more on the subject as we are in the middle of an investigation,” the MOCA source stated.

It was not determined whether the items were returned.

In a statement almost a week later, board Chairman Gordon Shirley confirmed the removal of the directors “following a difference of opinion regarding the direction of the company”.

He said that the decision was made at a recent extraordinary general meeting of the company, while confirming that both axed men remained shareholders, with 20 per cent apiece.

Shirley, Chambers, and Tarik Felix are the remaining board members of the 11-year-old WIPL, which operates as a special purpose vehicle in the bunkering business in Latin America and the Caribbean, fuelling ships across Jamaica’s nine ports and further at sea with two vessels that it owns.

There are two other bunkering companies operating in Jamaica.

WIPL remains a stable entity which continues to proceed strongly on the path to growth and expansion, while operating on principles of transparency, credibility and probity,” the statement by Shirley also said.

In a further statement after the MOCA/RPD operation, WIPL described as “inaccurate and mischievous complaints made to revenue authorities”, an obvious reaction to the move by the state agencies.

The Jamaica Observer has reported that WIPL stated that it was cooperating with revenue authorities which were reviewing its processes.

It was that information, the WIPL said, that prompted revenue officials to carry out a “procedural review of an aspect of its processes”.

The company said that it was cooperating fully with the procedural review being carried out on its duty payment scale and the regime under which it operates. The entity noted that it is also currently being audited according to schedule and consistent with best practices.

Last January, the Jamaica Customs Agency wrote to WIPL‘s General Manager Raymond Samuels, informing him of an audit to be undertaken by Customs for the period July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019, for inventory.

“Under the authority of Section 44 of the Special Economic Zone Act and Section 223 and Section 223 (a) of the Customs Act, we request that your company provide us with documentary evidence for the period stated for the importation and distribution of petroleum.

“As such, a team will be visiting your office on Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 10:00 am to conduct an interview. The aim of this meeting is to ascertain pertinent information on the goods imported by the company.

“Consequently, pursuant to Sections 223 and 223 (a) of the Customs Act, kindly make available the following books, records and documents:

All Customs documents (IM9, IM4 and export document forms)

All reports/documents in relation to loss of petroleum

Any other books, records and/or documents relating to the goods imported for the above documents period.

All received by the Post Clearance Audit Unit will be kept in the strictest of confidence in accordance with Section 4 (a) of the Customs Act.”

There were unconfirmed reports last week that Customs had withdrawn the company’s earlier Special Economic Zone clearance, but this could not be substantiated by the state agency.

Early indications that the relationship among the directors had become strained emerged last year when Wilkinson filed suit in the Supreme Court towards the end of October asking the Court to grant orders sought in a filed fixed date claim form.

He named Chambers as first defendant, and WIPL as second defendant.

John Levy joined Wilkinson as second claimant.

Wilkinson said, among other things, in the court document, that Chambers should be removed as a board director, citing instances of decisions made by the first defendant that were contrary to good governance.

 

 

 

 

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