Sun | Jan 29, 2023

Court told Grindley hit Petrojam CFO with suspension after objecting to signing cheque

Published:Tuesday | November 29, 2022 | 12:11 AM
Fraud accused Floyd Grindley (left) and Perceval Singh.
Fraud accused Floyd Grindley (left) and Perceval Singh.

Petrojam’s chief financial officer (CFO) testified on Monday that he was given a five-day suspension after he objected to a request from accused fraudster Floyd Grindley to prepare a donation cheque. Grindley, Petrojam’s then general manager,...

Petrojam’s chief financial officer (CFO) testified on Monday that he was given a five-day suspension after he objected to a request from accused fraudster Floyd Grindley to prepare a donation cheque.

Grindley, Petrojam’s then general manager, reportedly instructed the witness, Delroy Brown, to issue the cheque to the Diabetes Association of Jamaica.

However, the finance executive recalled that when he insisted that the cheque could not be prepared without the board’s resolution, Grindley told him the F-word and accused him of being difficult and of obstructing the process.

The witness, further in his evidence in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court, said he wrote to Grindley the very next morning expressing disappointment about being told an expletive. The incident reportedly occurred in June 2017.

According to Brown, prior to that, he had also sent Grindley an email indicating that he could not prepare the cheque and had attached the board’s limits of authority.

He said he had also copied the email to the human resource manager and then Petrojam chairman, Dr Perceval Singh.

Brown had testified last week that following the exchange with Grindley, their relationship changed.

Continuing his testimony on Monday, he said two months after that encounter with Grindley, he was called into his office where Grindley handed him a letter of suspension. He said the former HR manager was also present.

The witness further testified that prior to receiving the letter, he had not participated in any process pertaining to his employment rights.

Singh’s lawyer, Bert Samuels, however objected to questions being asked about the letter on the basis that it was not disclosed by the prosecution.

He argued that the defence would be at a disadvantage and that the prosecution should have made a greater effort to find the cheque.

King’s Counsel Caroline Hay, who is prosecuting the case on a fiat from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, told the court that she requested the document last week from Petrojam but was told that it could not be found.

Brown was then asked if he had a copy, to which he responded that he would have to search for it.

Grindley and Singh are being tried on several fraud-related charges in relation to overseas travel allowances issued by the state-run oil refinery.

Singh is alleged to have submitted claims amounting to US$73,620 for overseas travel he did not make. Grindley is alleged to have aided and abetted the ex-chairman in the process.

Brown, later in his testimony on Monday, recalled signing a cheque for Singh for him to be reimbursed travel allowance for a trip to England for an insurance conference in February 2018.

At the same time, the CFO said he and the environment and quality assurance manager, Lloyd Jarrett, had travelled to London and attended all the meetings but he had not seen the ex-chairman.

However, Brown said he signed the cheque, which was also signed by Grindley, because he had left before Jarrett and did not know if Singh showed up after he left.

The witness will continue his testimony on Wednesday when the trial resumes.

King’s Counsel K.D. Knight and Bianca Samuels are representing Grindley.

Attorney-at-law Matthew Hyatt also appeared for Singh.

tanesha.mundle@gleanerjm.com