20 May 2014
(OSLO / NORWAY) Økokrim, Norway’s National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, have approached the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) over a major corruption case involving a Norwegian energy manager. The case involves Torstein Dale Sjøtveit, the CEO of state-owned Malaysian power supplier Sarawak Energy.
In a letter disclosed today, Trond Eirik Schea, the Director of Økokrim, writes: „The case concerns alleged involvement in corruption in Malaysia. Økokrim has in that respect contacted the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in January 2014 to inform them about your complaint.“
Last November, the Bruno Manser Fund filed a complaint with Økokrim because Sjøtveit granted contracts worth over US$ 200 million to companies linked to the former Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud. Under Norwegian laws, it is forbidden for Norwegian nationals to get involved in corruption anywhere in the world.
„Case must be handled by the authorities in Malaysia“
Norway’s chief prosecutor for economic crime states that he is not in a position to initiate criminal proceedings against Sjøtveit as all alleged criminal actions have taken place in Malaysia: „Even though this case regards allegations about gross corruption it is a matter of fact that all actions have taken place in Malaysia and as such the case must be handled by the authorities in Malaysia.“
Last week, Norwegian energy advisor, Norconsult, confirmed it had concluded extensive consultancy contracts with Sarawak Energy. Norconsult CEO John Nyheim defended the deals by saying that an evaluation of Sarawak Energy had shown „that the company has not been convicted on any allegations of corruption or malpractice“.
An indigenous delegation from Sarawak is currently in Oslo to protest against Norway’s role in the Sarawak government’s controversial dam plans. The Bruno Manser Fund calls on Malaysia’s Anti Corruption Commission, MACC, to act swiftly against Sarawak Energy and eradicate the rampant corruption in the state’s power sector.
– Økokrim letter to the Bruno Manser Fund, 27 February 2014 (attached)
– Complicit in Corruption: Taib Mahmud’s Norwegian Power Man, Report by the Bruno Manser Funds, May 2013.
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