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Sarawak natives lodge corruption complaint against Norwegian top executive

Sarawak natives lodge corruption complaint against Norwegian top executive

(MIRI/MALAYSIA) A group of natives from Sarawak, Malaysia, has today lodged a corruption complaint against Torstein Dale Siøtveit, the Norwegian CEO of state-owned Malaysian power supplier Sarawak Energy. The group submitted their complaint to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s office in Miri. They are accusing Siøtveit of abusing his position to favour companies linked to the family of Sarawak Chief Minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Peter Kallang, chairman of the SAVE Sarawak’s Rivers Network, said to the Bruno Manser Fund: “We decided to lodge a complaint against Mr. Siøtveit because we found serious irregularities when we examined a number of contracts linked to the ongoing Murum dam project.” Specifically, the group are criticizing that, in November 2010, Sarawak Energy granted a MYR 99 million (USD 31.8 mio.) power transmission line contract to Universal Cable, a company linked to Abu Bekir Taib, the son of the Sarawak Chief Minister. Universal Cable is a subsidiary of Sarawak Cable, of which Abu Bekir Taib holds 42% of the shares. The contract was granted without public tender.

Also in 2010, Sarawak Energy sold part of its profitable manufacturing subsidiary, Sawarja Timur, to Sarawak Cable, for 16 million Malaysian Ringgit (USD 5.1 mio.). With Sarawak Energy being a state-owned enterprise, whose ultimate responsible is the Sarawak Chief Minister, Mr. Siøtveit acted in conflict of interest when selling off a subsidiary to a company so closely associated with the son of Sarawak’s strong-man politician.

The Sarawak natives furthermore criticize the role of Kenanga Investment bank, a joint venture between the Taib family-controlled Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS) and Deutsche Bank, in financing Sarawak Energy’s dam program. Research by the Bruno Manser Fund has shown that Kenanga Investment bank was one of three Malaysian banks involved in the January 2012 issuing of MYR 2.5 billion (USD 803 million) islamic bonds on behalf of Sarawak Energy.

Torstein Dale Siøtveit has been CEO of Sarawak Energy since 2009, taking over from Abdul Aziz Husain, the brother-in-law of the Sarawak Chief Minister. Mr. Siøtveit has drawn massive criticism for pushing forward plans for the construction of 12 new dams in Sarawak that are threatening the livelihood of tens of thousands of indigenous peoples in the Borneo rainforest.

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The communities displaced by the Murum Dam are still waiting to receive farmland – NGOs are now asking Britain’s Princess Anne for help as she visited dam builder Sarawak Energy in late 2016

 

 

 


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