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Borneo Bulletin: Fraud probe at oil company

By Ignatius Stephen

Saturday 6 February 2010

In an effort to keep the country’s cooperate image clean the Brunei Anti Corruption Bureau has begun a series of massive fraud investigations against more than 10 senior oil company officials.

The amount probed, according to reliable sources, exceeds $5 million and both local and foreign employees are allegedly linked to what is quoted as “irregular material purchase procedures and related matters.”

The company Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) has already dismissed some of the officials after questioning while the affairs of others are still being looked into, informed sources said. Some of the others are under investigation, it is learnt.

The matter is still in its early stage and a thorough check has been on the way for some time and a source said that “no stone will be left unturned.” It is understood the alleged fraud was discovered during a routine audit check.

The authorities, it is understood, are looking into the allegations seriously, although no arrests have been made apart from the termination and suspension of some of the alleged miscreants.

Oil and gas are the country’s lifeblood and the authorities are determined keep the industry clean.

Rumours of the alleged fraud have been strong in recent times although no public announcements have been made so far.

The country’s oil industry is mainly based in Seria, in the south of the capital.

Oil and gas account for 48 percent of the country’s economic output that is helped by the country’s stability and an efficient and clean oil industry sector helping to maintain the country’s production levels.

Although there have been instances of petty irregularities in the oil sector in the past that brought about court action, instances have been rare.

In recent times other overseas oil companies have begun major operations here.

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Brunei launches investigation into fraud at Brunei Shell

Bandar Seri Begawan – The Brunei Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has launched an investigation into allegations of fraud committed by more than 10 senior Brunei Shell Petroleum Company officials, media reports said Saturday. The investigation is into “irregular material purchase procedures and related matters” worth 3.2 million dollars by local and foreign employees at the company, the Borneo Bulletin reported citing informed sources. The alleged fraud was unveiled through a routine audit check. The investigation is still in early stages and no arrests have been made. But Brunei Shell Petroleum has already dismissed or suspended some of the alleged “miscreants,” the newspaper said. Authorities from the bureau said “no stone will be left unturned” in the investigation, as the oil and gas industry is the sultanate’s lifeblood. Brunei Shell is one of the key players in the oil industry in Brunei, a county of less than 600,000 people where oil and gas accounts for 48 per cent of economic output.
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