Availability of Rolls-Royce bribe takers list in question

Availability of Rolls-Royce bribe takers list in question

Aircraft in Thailand use a variety of engines, with GE and Rolls-Royce (above) the clear favourites, including by Thai Airways International. (Photo via Thaiairways.com)
Aircraft in Thailand use a variety of engines, with GE and Rolls-Royce (above) the clear favourites, including by Thai Airways International. (Photo via Thaiairways.com)

The local investigation into the Rolls-Royce bribery scandal concerning Thai Airways International (THAI) is being conducted but authorities have doubts about its success due to a possible lack of information on the bribe-takers.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said on Tuesday that the documents relating to the bribery by aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce did not refer to any names and only mentioned that the bribes had been given to "state officials and THAI employees".

THAI might have to seek additional information from the United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the minister said. He did not know if or how existing rules would allow the SFO to share its information with an outside party like Thailand.

Without additional information from the UK, the committee might have to interrogate former THAI executives who had been in office during the periods of bribery the SFO mentioned, Mr Arkhom said.

Earlier reports said Rolls-Royce was involved in dubious payments of up to US$36.38 million (1.28 billion baht) during trade deals between 1991 and 2005.

THAI executive vice-president Montree Jumrieng said on Tuesday that the probe committee of the national airline had sought information from the SFO but he wondered if and how it would be granted.

He also said that the Office of the Auditor General, the Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Anti-Corruption Commission sought information on the matter from THAI.

Konok Aphiradee, the THAI president from 2002 to 2006, said the THAI management rarely had authority in the purchases of aircraft engines and only the cabinet had the power to approve it.

The management had only acknowledged project details but had no power to secure or change any specifications, he said.

He urged the THAI management to include a third party in its probe committee for transparency.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said the Thai embassy had contacted the SFO on the issue and the latter promised to cooperate with Thailand.

The Office of the Auditor General also contacted the SFO, Mr Don said.


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