Sarawak Energy CEO: “I’m taking no stance on corruption in Malaysia”
BRUNO MANSER FUND, BASEL / SWITZERLAND
08 November 2013
For immediate release
Embattled Norwegian energy manager, Torstein Dale Sjøtveit, rejects corruption allegations, declines to come clean over contracts granted to Malaysian top politician’s family
OSLO (NORWAY) In a startling interview with the Norwegian weekly, Ny Tid, Torstein Dale Sjøtveit, the CEO of Malaysian power supplier, Sarawak Energy, today said he was “not taking a general stance on corruption in Malaysia” and declined that he was personally involved in corruption. The Norwegian weekly quizzed Sjøtveit over a complaint lodged last week by the Bruno Manser Fund with Norway’s anti-corruption agency, Økokrim. Mr. Sjotveit said: “I sleep well at night, both regarding Økokrim and BMF.”
Research by the Swiss organization has shown that, during Mr. Sjøveit’s tenure as CEO, Sarawak Energy had granted contracts over a minimum of 416 million US dollars to companies with close ties to Sarawak Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud. In October 2013, Sarawak Cable, a company chaired by the Chief Minister’s son, Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib, was granted two contracts over 196 million US dollars for the construction of powerlines in Sarawak. Under Norwegian law, the country’s citizens can be held responsible for their involvement in corrupt activities anywhere in the world.
In a personal e-mail exchange with the Bruno Manser Fund, Mr. Sjøtveit refused to comment on his company’s business ties with Sarawak Cable and other Taib family companies such as Cahya Mata Sarawak and Naim Holdings. He also refused to comment on corruption allegations against Taib Mahmud, who has been Chief Minister of Sarawak since 1981 and is currently under investigation by Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption Commission, MACC.
“How can Mr. Sjøtveit say he is not taking a stance on corruption in Malaysia if he is working for a Chief Minister who is currently under investigation?”, BMF director Lukas Straumann said. “We challenge Mr. Sjøtveit to publicly clarify if he is working for an honest government or for a corrupt government.”
Research by the Bruno Manser Fund has shown that the Taib family have stakes in 400 businesses in 25 countries and offshore finance centres. The family’s illicit assets, estimated at 20 billion US dollars, include properties and business interests in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia and Malaysia.
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Sources used for this release:
- Ny Tid articles: "Tar Borneo til Økokrim" and "Avviser alle beskyldninger", 8 November 2013
- Bruno Manser Fund Report: “Complicit in Corruption. Taib Mahmud’s Norwegian Power Man” (May 2013)