Comptroller of Customs, Australian Jim Sutton departing SI, blames severe pressure by political elements associated with PM’s Office for his exit
JIM SUTTON’s contract as Comptroller of Customs has ended, the man announced in an internal electronic memo to staff, blaming “severe pressure by political elements associated with the PM’s Office” for his departure.
Solomon Star has obtained a copy of the electronic Memo titled, Update from Comptroller, dated Monday 17th April.
“I am very sad to report to you that my term as Comptroller has ended with the conclusion of my contract last Friday. Wes is now Acting Comptroller for the next week or so until interviews are held.
“I was not informed until the end of the day and had been led to believe from the Minister (of Finance and Treasury) I would be staying on in some form of a mentoring role – not to be,” the electronic memo said.
“The reason I have been given is the Minister has been placed under severe pressure by political elements associated with the PM’s Office,” Mr. Sutton said.
“As many of you would be thinking, the timing of this decision is problematic as we have recently joined the WCO and have formed our project taskforce on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, and the Revised Kyoto Convention – at least three years of specialized work. In addition, the Attorney General has recently granted permission to start work on our Customs Legislation – not sure who can do this now as Stuey and I are the only people around with a Masters (degree) on Customs Law and to top it all off we have the upgrade to Asycuda scheduled for later this year, Uncertain times,” he said.
Mr. Sutton acknowledged that the past three years and nine months have been tough.
“When I arrived from Afghanistan, the PM asked me to reform Customs (done), address corruption (done) and raise revenue (done), so I will leave with my head held high, these achievements would not have been possible without your efforts, so you all should hold your head high as well,” he said.
“Although the short-term future is cloudy, please focus on your career in Customs, the work is highly technical (and) hard but rewarding.”
Mr, Sutton also paid tribute to some of the staff, naming one as “future Comptroller material I think.”
By Alfred Sasako