Rolls-Royce rejects THAI request to share details

Rolls-Royce rejects THAI request to share details

Charamporn: Shared information with NACC
Charamporn: Shared information with NACC

British engineering giant Rolls-Royce has refused to supply information about its bribery admission involving Thai Airways International (THAI) with the national flag carrier's probe panel.

The British Serious Fraud Office (SFO) recently revealed 12 counts in which Rolls-Royce had engaged in corrupt acts or failed to prevent bribery in seven countries -- Indonesia, Thailand, India, Russia, Nigeria, China and Malaysia.

The bribery case in Thailand involved the purchase of engines for THAI aircraft. Rolls-Royce admitted to bribing Thai state agents and employees of THAI. Spanning from 1991 to 2005, the scandal involves kickbacks totalling 1.28 billion baht, which were allegedly paid to help the British firm secure deals with the carrier.

THAI president Charamporn Jotikasthira said on Friday the company's investigation into the allegations had mapped out a sequence of incidents believed to be linked to the alleged bribery and this corresponds with the investigation framework carried out by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

Upon a request for information linked to the graft, Rolls-Royce refused to share it with THAI's probe panel, saying the information it gave to the SFO was confidential, Mr Charamporn said.

He said THAI had also asked the SFO for relevant information on Jan 24 and the British anti-graft authority replied it would respond to the request within 20 days, he said.

The THAI president said he shared the information at hand with the NACC on Jan 23 and 26, adding that the national carrier stood ready to supply all related information to state agencies tasked with probing the case.

"As for the inquiry into who received the bribes, the NACC will play a key role in investigating the matter. So results of the NACC's probe, which is gathering information from all sides, must first be concluded," Mr Charamporn said.

He conceded it is unlikely that THAI would be able to receive information from other parties apart from what has already been publicised.

He was speaking after a meeting with Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith to discuss the probe.

Mr Arkhom said THAI has set up two investigation panels.

One examines whether the current procurement process is adequately transparent and another looks into the bribe scandal spelled out by the SFO, he said.

The minister said he instructed THAI to cooperate with the NACC and the Office of the Auditor-General in the ongoing investigation.

The national carrier was also asked to adopt an integrity pact in its procurement process and stop the practice of agents being used to deal with procurements, Mr Arkhom said.

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