Wed | Oct 28, 2020

Petrojam attorney challenges Mollison

Published:Wednesday | December 11, 2019 | 12:11 AMLivern Barrett/Senior Staff Reporter

An attorney for Petrojam has challenged a claim by former general manager of the state-owned oil refinery, Howard Mollison, that he was asked to provide company directors with information after he complained that a 2016 report to Parliament had falsely listed his salary as $15.3 million.

Further, Mollison has acknowledged that his two-year contract with Petrojam indicated that one of the grounds on which it could be terminated was to facilitate the return of his predecessor, Winston Watson, who was on secondment with the refinery’s parent company, Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.

He was giving evidence in cross-examination yesterday before the three-member panel of the Industrial Dispute Tribunal (IDT), which is hearing the case he brought against Petrojam for unfair dismissal.

Mollison is contending that he was terminated with seven months remaining and wants the IDT to order Petrojam to pay him for the unexpired portion of his contract, as well as compensation for loss of his health benefits, vacation pay, and performance incentive.

On Monday, he testified that during a meeting of the Petrojam board of directors on July 12, 2016, he raised concerns after his salary was incorrectly quoted in the 2015-2016 financial report to the House of Representatives and said he was asked to provide additional information.

Responding to questions from Angela Robertson, the attorney for Petrojam, Mollison conceded that a subsequent email he sent to members of the board made no direct reference to that request.

“And you would agree that when [then Petrojam director Perceval] Bahado-Singh responded to you, there was nothing in his email to say thanks for providing the information requested?” Robertson questioned.

“Yes,” Mollison replied.

“And do you agree with me that it (the contract) made it abundantly clear that though it is a fixed term, it was subject to early termination?” Robertson pressed.

“That’s what it says there,” Mollison responded.

Mollison’s cross-examination will continue next Tuesday while closing arguments have been pushed back to February next year.