The four-year probe centered on payments made by Alstom Network Schweiz AG to middlemen termed as 'commercial agents' by the company, in return for securing government contracts to build power stations in 15 countries since the 1990s.
Alstom was awarded a RM2.8 billion contract by Tenaga Nasional earlier this year to provide key power generation equipment to Southeast Asia’s first 1,000-megawatt (MW) supercritical coal-fired power plant Manjung, besides winning turnkey contracts in 1994 and 2000 to build four power plants including the 1,300MW Lumut and the 670MW Kuala Langat plants and deals in 2003 and 2004 to install environmental control systems for the Tanjung Bin and Jimah coal-fired power plants.
It was also appointed by Tenaga to supply two 125MW hydro power turbines, a generator and ancillaries for the 250MW Hulu Terengganu hydro power plant in 2010.
In July, a former Alcatel employee was charged in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court with giving a RM25,000 bribe to a Telekom Malaysia (TM) officer, in a case linked to the French company’s admission last year that it had bribed government officials to win a US$85 million (RM255 million) contract.
That's how some business are done.
However, what attracts my attention is the Summary Punishment Order by the Swiss Office of Attorney-General about the case for Malaysia.
Among the contents, it mentions:
"At the end of the 1990s, the state-licensed TTPC (Teknologi Tenaga Perlis Consortium Sdn Bhd) had major contracts for the delivery and maintenance of gas turbines to award for the Perlis project in Malaysia. At the end of 1999, the then existing ABB Alstom Power (Schweiz) AG, Baden signed various consultancy agreements to this end with various offshore companies...
"... because the original consultants were individuals, the use of an established company was chosen in order to comply with internal control. However, other internal regulations (no offshore companies, no companies with accounts outside the project country, no success fees over 3% of the contract value) were disregarded; distributing payments to different offshore companies with the same financial beneficiaries knowingly exceeded the last of these provisions.
"Both Chee Liang Ti and Abdul Hamid Pawanteh were leading executives of TTPC at the time, and the latter was also a local politician in the constituent state of Perlis where the power station was to be built. It is obvious that the Alstom employees involved in this case wished to influence TTPC decision-makers with payments to award contracts to Alstom. There is also indication that an Alstom employee involved illegally and without the knowledge of Alstom personally enriched himself.
"The parties to the contractual agreement to deliver, operate and maintain gas turbines were Alstom Schweiz AG and Alstom O&M AG on one side and TTPC on the other side. TTPC consisted of the consortium members Tenaga Nasional Berhad, TNB (20%), Landmark Sdn Bhd (20%), Alpga Intercontinental Sdn Bhd (30%), Gerang Sutera Sdn Bhd (20%) and Yayasan Islam Perlis via Infostaas Eng Sdn Bhd (10%)...
"...after a deduction of a commission of about 5%, these payments were channeled through the accounts of additional offshore companies to the two executives of TTPC, Chee Liang Ti and Abdul Hamid Pawanteh, with accounts in Switzerland..."