Thursday, 25 October 2012
Corruption complaint filed against S'wak Energy CEO
The Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) has lodged a corruption complaint in Norway against Torstein Dale Sjotveit, the CEO of Sarawak Energy Bhd, with Norway's anti-graft watchdog, Okokrim, over irregularities related to the Murum dam project and the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).
The NGO's complaint was reported last Saturday by Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, titled "Natives furious with Norwegian dambuilder" said the Swiss-based NGO in a statement this week.
BMF said that it has received information in 2010 that Sjotveit's (right) company granted power transmission line contracts over RM99 million to a company in which Abu Bekir Taib, son of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Muhmud, is allegedly the key shareholder.
The NGO claimed that in 2010, Sarawak Energy also sold parts of its profitable manufacturing subsidiary to the same company.
"Furthermore, in January 2012, three Malaysian banks issued Islamic bonds worth RM2.5 billion on behalf of Sarawak Energy," said BMF adding that one of the banks is a subsidiary of a joint venture linked to the Taib family.
"The Bruno Manser Fund's complaint is, on this point, backed by an investigation by Dutch research company Profundo," read the statement.
BMF allegations rebutted
Dagbladet reported that Sjotveit rebutted BMF's allegations and claimed that Sarawak Energy had "an open, competitive tender process" which which ensured the company the best results.
"The question of ownership (of companies that Sarawak Energy was dealing with) is completely irrelevant," said Sjotveit.
In response, BMF said that it was "highly alarmed" with Sjotveit's claim and requested that both Okokrim and the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commision (MACC) cross-examine Sjotveit on the matter.
"BMF also calls on Sarawak Energy to immediately release all finance arrangements behind its dam-building program as well as all feasibility studies, social and environmental impact assessments and other relevant documents."
Under Norway's tough anti-corruption laws, Norwegian citizens can be held responsible for corruption committed anywhere in the world.