A senior executive at Norwegian energy services company Aker Solutions is expected to be charged today for allegedly making false statements in order to win Petronas licenses in Malaysia.
Aker Solutions said yesterday that one of its managers was being questioned by Malaysian authorities. Charges are expected to be brought against the executive by Malaysia’s anti-graft agency today, reported Reuters.
Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been investigating allegations that Aker Solutions made false representations to win licences from national oil company Petronas that are usually reserved for companies meeting ethnic quota requirements under Malaysian law, said Reuters.
The anti-corruption agency yesterday issued a press release inviting media to cover a court case today involving the senior vice president of an engineering company. But it gave no further details.
In a statement yesterday Aker Solutions said that “is seeking further information about the current questioning but is confident that it fulfils applicable requirements for the set-up of its entities in Malaysia.”
“The documentation and information regarding the company set-up have been disclosed in all license renewal processes to verify that the companies meet the requirements for local licenses. In 2017, the licenses were renewed after clarification meetings with relevant authorities. The latest renewal of the licenses was in mid-2020,” said Aker.
“Aker Solutions will continue to maintain an open and transparent dialogue with authorities in Malaysia. Together with the involved manager in Malaysia, the company will work on providing and clarifying additional information required by the authorities,” added the company.
Aker Solutions does not expect the process to have any significant impact on its operations in Malaysia that turned over NOK 1.57 billion ($189 million) in revenue in 2020. In 2019, the company was awarded an umbrella engineering services agreement from Petronas.
“Malaysia practices a form of affirmative action, in which many contracts awarded by state-linked companies are reserved for ethnic Malays and indigenous people – collectively known as Bumiputera – meaning sons of the soil,” reported Reuters.
Reuters reported that three sources, two from the anti-corruption agency and another source who is familiar with the case, saying that an Aker executive is accused of submitting documents aimed at misleading Petronas that one of Aker’s subsidiaries would qualify as a Bumiputera-owned company when it did not.
“The Aker executive was expected to be charged with the offence of cheating, two of the sources said. That offence carries a sentence of up to five years’ jail, a fine, or both,” said Reuters.
Aker Solutions has six subsidiaries registered in Malaysia, where its Asia Pacific headquarters is based, according to its 2020 annual report.