JAMAICA | Provide the Trafigura information without delay ! says Golding

JAMAICA | Provide the Trafigura information without delay ! says Golding

KINGSTON, Jamaica, April 19, 2021 - People's National Party President Mark Golding has instructed that the information requested by the Dutch authorities in the Trafigura Oil donation matter to be provided without delay and  “Let the truth come out, and the chips fall where they may.”

This follows today’s ruling by the ruling by Privy Council which has dismissed the appeal of five members of the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) in the Trafigura case.

The Privy Council has ruled that the information requested by the Dutch authorities in their investigation of Trafigura Beheer should be given in open court.

In a statement this morning, Mr. Golding said: “I welcome this opportunity for the information to be provided, and for this matter to be disposed of, once and for all. The events concerned took place in 2006, which is 15 years ago, and the delay in completing this mutual legal assistance process has dragged the matter out for far too long.”

He noted that “the Dutch company which made the political donation is under investigation in the Netherlands for an alleged breach of Dutch law. No offence is alleged under Jamaican law, and no one in the PNP is under investigation.” 

Golding said “the information requested by the Dutch authorities should now be provided without delay. Let the truth come out, and let the chips fall where they may.”

“I take this opportunity to reiterate that corruption will not be tolerated within the PNP under my leadership. Our Party must consistently embrace, in word and in deed, the principles of honesty and integrity on which our Noble Movement was founded. It is what the Jamaican people want and expect of us, and we must always strive to live up to their expectations,” the PNP president concluded.

The judgment issued this morning in London means that the five persons in question:former PNP President Portia Simpson Miller as well as  Phillip Paulwell, former Chairman Robert Pickersgill, Colin Campbell, and Norton Hinds must testify in open court about a $31-million campaign donation by Trafigura Baheer to the then-governing PNP in 2006. 

The matter was taken to the Privy Council after the Court of Appeal, in 2017, dismissed an appeal against a Supreme Court ruling that the five appellants must testify in open court about the Trafigura donation.

The Netherlands forbids companies to make such donations to political parties, and said the  donation by Trafigura was illegal. However, the company said it was payment on a commercial transaction. The party later reported that the money was returned.

The National Public Prosecutor's Office (NPPO) of The Netherlands is investigating alleged breaches of the Dutch Criminal Code by Trafigura Beheer BV for the potential bribery of public officials of Jamaica.

The Government of The Netherlands wanted to question the five appellants about  the payment made to the PNP, which was the governing party at the time, while Trafigura had an oil-lifting agreement with Jamaica.

The Privy Council in its conclusion said “ The nature of the matter under investigation is one which is capable of affecting the polity of the country. This is highly relevant to whether the evidence should be taken in public and was not a matter given undue weight.

“There was no material before the court to lead to the conclusion that a public hearing might jeopardise the investigation in the Netherlands, or any subsequent investigation or proceedings which might follow in Jamaica.

“In any event, should such an investigation or proceedings ensue, that would be a question to be addressed within those proceedings. It should also be recalled that the appellants were given the opportunity to give their evidence in private but did not avail themselves of that opportunity, thus leading to the request made in the ninth supplementary letter.

“We see no basis for concluding that the discretion was other than properly exercised. For all these reasons, the Board will humbly advise Her Majesty that the appeal should be dismissed.”


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