In the latest update on the Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) corruption scandal, it was reported today that a number of the former executives of the company have been arrested. The Straits Times reported today that former president and chief executive of Keppel Fels Brasil, Mr Tay Kim Hock, is among those apprehended by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) and is now out on bail, along with more than five other former executives also implicated in the case.
Keppel Fels Brasil, where Mr. Tay was CEO and president from 2000 to 2007, is wholly owned by the company.
According to the report, Singaporean officials had asked these executives for aid in investigating the charges, which involve Keppel O&M being required to pay fines of up to US$422.2 million (S$554 million) to Singapore, Brazil and the US. Keppel O&M has strong connections with the Singaporean government.
By last week, several of Keppel O&M’s former executives were being represented by lawyers from Withers KhattarWong and WongPartnership, and had made their statements to the CPIB.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) will make a determination on the charges. Neither the AGC nor the CPIB have said whether certain persons had been arrested, since, according to a spokesman for the CPIB, “investigations against the individuals involved are still ongoing.” Neither did a spokesman for the company choose to comment on the investigations.
Last December, the company arrived at a global resolution with authorities from Singapore, Brazil and the US concerning payments made in Brazil by a then Keppel O&M agent. It has also been revealed that the company made US $55 million bribery payments in order to obtain contracts with Petrobas, a Brazilian oil company. In Brazil, a leniency agreement with the Public Prosecutor’s Office was made by Keppel Fels Brasil, while here in Singapore, the CPIB issued a conditional warning to the company, as an alternative for corruption offenses that could be punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Many citizens have perceived that authorities had been too lenient to the company especially in the light of the large amount of money paid in bribes, as well as the damage done to Singapore’s reputation.
This was refuted by Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law, who spoke in Parliament on January 8. She reminded everyone that company officials were actually under investigation, in addition to the fines that Keppel O&M received. Ms. Ranjee reiterated that there is no final decision on the investigation yet, and that “Nobody has got off – or not got off, as the case may be.”
Singaporean netizens congratulated the government and also called for an investigation into Minister Ong, who had also been formerly involved with the company.
Others were doubtful as to whether justice would be served
Still, others remained hopeful that justice would prevail