Wednesday, 4 October 2023

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Marine engineering giant Seatrium under CPIB investigation for alleged corruption offences

SINGAPORE – The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) has begun an investigation into alleged corruption offences by Seatrium Limited, a major player in the marine engineering sector, and several of its employees. The investigation follows the receipt of damning information pertaining to potential irregularities in Seatrium’s operations.

Seatrium, established as a result of the merger between Singapore’s top marine and offshore companies, Sembcorp Marine and Keppel Offshore & Marine (KOM), is currently facing scrutiny from the CPIB over alleged malpractices occurring in Brazil.

However, when queried by Channel News Asia (CNA) on whether these allegations were linked to a past multimillion-dollar bribery case involving former KOM employees and Brazilian oil company Petrobras, CPIB declined to comment citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.

The CPIB statement delivered on Wednesday asserts the Bureau’s commitment to investigating without fear, assuring that they would not hesitate to act against parties engaged in corrupt activities.

Seatrium’s Brazilian subsidiary, Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz, is also currently under a cloud.

Just a month ago, preliminary administrative proceedings were suspended following revelations that the subsidiary was under investigation for purported irregularities. As yet, no response has been received from Seatrium regarding the ongoing investigations.

Earlier this year, six former senior management staff of KOM were issued stern warnings by the CPIB following an almost five-year-long investigation into offences punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).

The decision was reached in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) due to a lack of sufficient evidence to definitively prove their guilt.

Responding to Parliamentary Questions, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Indranee Rajah, acknowledged the challenges faced by CPIB in procuring evidence in the high-profile case.

Despite no criminal proceedings being brought forward in this case, Ms Indranee asserted that Singapore’s zero-tolerance policy towards corruption remains unchanged. She further stressed that both the CPIB and AGC are committed to maintaining a fair and just criminal justice system, adhering strictly to the rule of law.

The public prosecutor, she explained, must have enough evidence to prove not only that individuals were involved in certain conduct, but that they also possessed a specific mental state, which would establish their guilt in committing the offences under investigation. Until such evidence is gathered, no charges can be filed, said Ms Indranee.

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