MIRI, Sarawak: Torstein Dale Sjotveit, CEO of Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), has been alleged to have abused his position by awarding contracts for projects belonging to SEB to the family members of his employer, the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Abdul Taib Mahmud, reports the SAVE Rivers network.
SAVE Rivers network representatives, including concerned members of public, visited the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) office in Miri on 5 September 2012 to hand over documents and evidence detailing the allegation in full and to request MACC to take the required action against Torstein Dale Sjotveit.
Torstein Dale Sjotveit, a Norwegian national, was employed by SEB as its CEO in November 2009. SEB is a government-linked company (GLC) owned by the Sarawak state government under the State Financial Secretariat of Sarawak. The State Financial Secretary is an integral part of the State Ministry of Finance while the portfolio of State Minister of Finance is held by Abdul Taib Mahmud, the Chief Minister of Sarawak. So, essentially, the employer of Torstein Dale Sjotveit is Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Sarawak Energy Bhd gave construction contracts to the company of Taib Mahmud’s son
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Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), under its CEO Torstein Dale Sjotveit, is currently constructing the Murum Hydroelectric Dam to supply power to the Sarawak Corridor of Renewal Energy. Part of the construction work for the hydroelectric dam project is the installation of a power transmission line costing RM99m. The contract for this power transmission line was awarded by SEB to Universal Cable Sdn Bhd.
Universal Cable Sdn Bhd
Universal Cable Sdn Bhd is owned by Sarawak Cable Sdn Bhd. The dominant share holder of Sarawak Cable Sdn Bhd is the son of Abdul Taib Mahmud, Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib, who owns 42 per cent of the shares in the company.
In 2010, Sarawak Energy Bhd. sold part of its manufacturing subsidiary, Sawarja Timur, to Sarawak Cable (the form of which was a mixture of cash and shares) at RM1.20 per share. After paying RM16m for the shares mentioned, profits made by Sarawak Cable Sdn Bhd increased by RM3m the following year. This clearly shows that the Sawarja Timur is a profit-making company.
The above statement proves that Torstein Dale Sjotveit sold shares of a profitable company to his employer’s son. Besides that, he awarded the contract for the power transmission line to the son of his employer. This is clearly an abuse of power by Torstein Dale Sjotveit in favour of his employer, the Chief Minister of Sarawak.
Banks owned by Taib’s family are financing dam construction through Sarawak Energy Bhd
Sarawak Energy Bhd has received capital from various banks including Kenanga Investment Bank and RHB Investment Bank. Both banks are believed to be partly owned by or linked to the family of Abdul Taib Mahmud, the Chief Minister of Sarawak.
Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd
Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd. is fully owned by K&N Kenanga Holding Berhad. The dominant shareholder of K&N Kenanga Holding Bhd. is CMS Capital Sdn Bhd. with a total of 153,353,000 shares.
CMS Capital Sdn Bhd
CMS Capital Sdn. Bhd. is almost fully owned by Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd with a total of 198,461,538 shares.
Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd
Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd is 85 per cent owned by the family of Abdul Taib Mahmud, the Chief Minister of Sarawak. The five large shareholders of Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd are Abdul Taib Mahmud’s two daughters, Jamilah Hamidah Taib and Hanifah Hajar Taib; his two sons Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib and Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib; and Leila Taib (the deceased wife of Abdul Taib Mahmud).
Peter Kallang, Chairperson of SAVE Rivers Network, says, “The abuse of power and abnormal practice as done by Mr. Torstein Dale Sjotveit is very obvious as shown by the facts that we have presented to MACC. This is clearly an abuse of power by Mr. Torstein Dale Sjotveit in favour of his employer, the Chief Minister of Sarawak.
“With this, we would like to request the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to take immediate action by thoroughly investigating Mr. Torstein Dale Sjotveit, the CEO of SEB,” said Peter.
Mark Bujang is secretary of SAVE Rivers