Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Trafigura: Jamaica – Outline of Story

Yesterday I posted an extract from an article in the Jamaica Observer which described one aspect of politics.  Today I use a different extract which gives an outline of the scandal surrounding a payment made by Trafigura.

“When Trafigura Beheer — a Dutch company that was contracted by the Government of Jamaica to lift Nigerian oil and sell it on the open market -- made electronic transfers of $31 million to a bank account named CCOC Association in the latter part of 2006, it opened a can of worms for the then PNP Government.

For the benefit of those who came in late, CCOC stands for Colin Campbell Our Candidate. The account was set up for the specific purpose, one would imagine, of holding funds for Campbell as he ran as a candidate in elections. That is pretty standard business.

One assumes that at the time of the Trafigura transfers, because the matter was hush-hush, Campbell -- who was general secretary of the PNP and minister of information in the Government -- decided to utilise his CCOC Association to receive the Trafigura funds and not an account named People's National Party or PNP. That's the assumption, especially if we acknowledge that government and party politics enjoy an easy congruence with the concealment of certain actions.

Funds were then removed from the CCOC Association by Colin Campbell and lodged in SW Services Limited, which is an account bearing a strange resemblance to South West as in South West St Andrew constituency.

Again, for those who came in late, in August of 2006 Trafigura President Claude Dauphin had paid a visit to then Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, MP for South West St Andrew. Whatever was discussed in that courtesy call has not been made public, but when the fires were lit, Mrs Simpson Miller told the nation that Dauphin had stopped by at Jamaica House to personally congratulate her being a woman occupying the highest office in the land.

It is however quite possible that Mr Dauphin as head of Trafigura, a company then embroiled in many international breaches, simply wanted a face-to-face with the head of a Government who was in charge of allowing Trafigura to make easy money off Jamaica. We know that it would have been more than likely that Dauphin would extend best wishes to Simpson Miller in her future political endeavours.

The month after that meeting, Trafigura made its 'donation', or 'gift' as the PNP called it, while, under more pressure from the press in Jamaica and in its own country where such 'donations' are forbidden by law, Trafigura said the money was payment for a 'commercial transaction'.”

Thank you, Mark.

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