Angola row firm 'is broke'

Angola row firm 'is broke'

Centennial Energy (Thailand) Co, whose directors and employees have been detained in Angola in Southwest Africa after signing a document to develop a US$50-billion project, has reported total income of just 225 baht over the last three years, Isra News Agency reported.

The company submitted its last financial report in 2015.

Representatives of the relatives of four Thai citizens who were arrested in Angola almost six months ago on charges of fraud, money laundering and document falsification petitioned Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday to provide them with legal assistance.

The detained Thais are Raveeroj Rithchoteanan and Monthita Pribwai, both authorised directors of the company in question, and employees Theera Buapeng and Manin Wanitcha.

Citing information from the Department of Business Development, the company has 145 shareholders including one Briton and an American.

It was founded and registered in 2010 with 1 million baht in registered capital to trade agricultural goods, gold and property. Two years later, its registered capital jumped to 1.68 billion baht. In its latest balance report in 2015, the firm reported that amount in assets.

It reported total income of just 22 baht against expenses of 3.9 million baht. The company claimed to have earned no income that year. However it cited a 287,978-baht deficit in 2014 and income of 203 baht set against a deficit of 2.2 million baht in 2013, according to the news agency.

In 2015, Thai media reported Mr Raveeroj represented the firm in signing an agreement for a US$15-billion project to develop the Kalagauk deep sea harbour in Myanmar.

The Bangkok Post tried to contact Thiwaporn Wannaro, who represented the relatives of the four detained Thais at Government House on Tuesday, but she was not available for comment.

Last month, the Angola Press News Agency published an article stating that the Angolan Attorney-General's Office had acquitted three state officials in a case involving amounts above US$5 billion (166.4 billion baht) illegally withdrawn from state coffers due to lack of evidence.

Five Angolans, the four Thais, a Canadian and an Eritrean remain as defendants.

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