Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Hot on the heels of the 23 year / 5 million rial sentence that the ex Oman Oil Company CEO got last week, the courts have handed down another couple of sentences this week. The first one was to Adel Al Kindi, former CEO of the Oman Refinery Company before it was merged with Sohar Refinery, Aromatics Oman and Oman Polypropylene to form Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic).
Mr Al Kindi got 3 years in jail, a fine of 1 million rials and dismissal from Government service for 30 years - he was accused (and found guilty of) abuse of office and for accepting a bribe from Mr Faithi Alaaiddin (of CCC - Consolidated Contracting Company) to "facilitate CCC-Oman operations". He demanded 10% of a $15 million Contract but eventually agreed to 5%, and got paid $750,000 by CCC-Dubai.
Mr Al Kindi was a very prominent business man, he is (was?) a member of the State Council (which is the HM appointed upper house of Parliament), a founding member and board member of Bank Nizwa (he staked 1 million rials when it started), and perhaps the most amusing given this news, on the board of Galfar.
Now, it appears that the chaps at CCC have been very naughty boys, because in a second case involving Mr Faithi Alaaiddin (former Managing Director of CCC-Oman) and his colleague Rizq Mustafa (also an executive at CCC) were also found guilty of bribing Qasim al Shizawi, director-general of ports in the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Mr al Shizawi was found guilty of accepting a RO 200,000 bribe from CCC for fixing the award of a number of Duqm area contracts to CCC. His sentence is 3 years and a RO 750,000 fine for accepting the bribe.
And the boys from CCC? They both got 3 years, Mr Alaaiddin got RO 500,000 and Mr Mustafa got RO 300,000 fines, along with deportation back to their native Egypt at the end of their stay at the Sumayil Shangri-La. The MD of CCC, Alaaiddin, will have his sentence commuted to 6 months and then deportation in light of cooperation in the case (source).
I wonder what will happen to those projects that are running with CCC right now?
A month ago, the National Gas Company announced that it's CEO, Goutam Sen, had been detained under charges of bribing a government official. So perhaps we'll hear more on that case in due course too.
Amusingly, neither Oman Oil Company, CCC, or Orpic have any press releases on their websites discussing the recent successful prosecutions of their very senior management, I guess technically al Kindi didn't work for Orpic so that's understandable. And perhaps the funniest of all, Galfar's last press release on their homepage is titled: Galfar MD bestowed 'Times group' award. If you go into their news section, the latest story is a 10 million Contract win though. Don't these organizations have a duty to acknowledge this? I guess not.
Speaking of Galfar, rumours are flying around town that Dr Ali has left Oman and is currently in India.... no idea if they are true or not though.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Well in case you missed it, the now ex CEO of the Oman Oil Company, Ahmed al-Wahaibi was sentenced last week to 23 years in prison and a total of RO 5 million in fines, along with the contents of his Swiss bank account too. He was charged on 3 counts:
10 years and RO 4 million for accepting bribes, 10 years for money laundering and 3 years and RO 1 million for abuse of office - and his sentences run successively.
The story (reuters) goes a little like this:
Korean based LGI (you might recognize them as LG - they make TV's amongst many other things) sent over their vice-CEO, Myung Jao Yoo, to win a lucrative RO 1 billion petrochemical project in the port of Sohar. Now, so the prosecution successfully argued, Myung Jao Yoo paid $8 million into a
Caribbean-registered company that was owned by Mr Wahaibi after the Sohar gig was awarded to LGI. But Mr Wahaibi stated in court last week that he, "didn't know why LGI transferred $8 million" into his Caribbean company. I want to know why I don't get erroneous bank transfers like that!
The plot thickens.
It appears that Ahmed and Myung had a little side gig going on, and Ahmed then gave Myung a bung from his $8 million "banking accident" too - I wonder if LGI knew that their vice-CEO was skimming from their own company? Then an aid to Mr Wahaibi, Adel al-Raisi who was also in on the scheme, and was found guilty of organizing the gig also got a bung from Mr Wahaibi. In court Adel said that he had admitted organizing the bribe and receiving the money 'under pressure'. I don't doubt that there was 'pressure' for an instant.
When asked in court how Myung could explain away receiving money from Mr Wahaibi, he rather amusingly said: "Maybe it was a birthday gift. I don't remember".
A-MAY-ZING. You can't make this stuff up! Gee, Mr Wahaibi is a pretty generous guy, giving his pal a few million bucks for his birthday!
Both Myung and Adel each got 10 years and a fine of RO 4 million, with deportation awaiting Myung at the end of his sentence - presumably into a pretty pissed of LG court case back in Korea - perhaps not, I dont know.
But why was Myung even IN Oman - I mean, surely if you'd just committed serious bribery to win a Billion rial gig and you didn't need to be there anymore, you'd make pretty damn sure you wouldn't go back to that country right? Well it seems that after the Swiss authorities contacted the Omani authorities regarding suspicious activities on Mr Wahaibi's account back in 2011, the hunt was on. So the rumour goes, Myung was lured to Oman for a special meeting - some variants on the rumour say it was for an extra-ordinary contract ratification - and that he was met at the airport here in Muscat around August last year by the ROP.
I wonder who's next?