3 former Shell employees accused of bribing ship inspectors

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SINGAPORE: Three former Shell Eastern Petroleum employees who are accused of being involved in a scheme to steal fuel from the oil giant’s Pulau Bukom refinery were charged in court on Tuesday (February 23) with corruption offenses.

The men are accused of bribing employees of various surveying companies hired by Shell to inspect ships to which Shell supplied fuel, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said. They had also previously been charged with their alleged involvement in the fuel diversion from Shell Bukom.

Former Shell staff Juandi Pungot, 44, and Muzaffar Ali Khan Muhamad Akram, 40, allegedly conspired to pay bribes totaling approximately US $ 91,900 (S $ 121,600) to 10 employees of various surveying companies between 2014 and 2017. These were given as “rewards for refraining from accurately reporting the amount of diesel fuel loaded on the vessels they were responsible for inspecting,” the agency said in a statement Press.

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Juandi and Muzaffar each face 13 counts under the Prevention of Corruption Act, of which seven have been merged.

READ: Former Shell employee admits conspiring to divert $ 49 million in diesel from Pulau Bukom site

READ: Oil tanker chief officer in ‘unprecedented’ $ 3.5million Shell oil theft jailed

The third employee, Richard Goh Chee Keong, 51, allegedly paid bribes totaling around $ 25,000 to three employees of various polling companies between 2016 and 2017.

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The CPIB said the bribes were given as a reward or inducement “to refrain from accurately reporting the amount of diesel fuel loaded on the vessels they were tasked with inspecting.” Goh faces four charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Anyone found guilty of a corruption offense can be fined up to S $ 100,000, up to five years, or both.

READ: Beyond the Shell Bukom heist, a closer look at how marine fuel is stolen in Singapore

The trio are among a dozen Shell employees accused of the biggest heist of marine fuel at Shell’s Pulau Bukom refinery. Also involved are employees of a major Singapore fuel supplier, a London listed company that certifies fuel quantities, and a Vietnamese shipping company.

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Reuters reported in 2018 that around S $ 200 million had been stolen over several years from the Shell refinery, which is its largest petrochemical production and export center in Asia-Pacific.

“Singapore takes a strict zero tolerance approach to corruption,” said the CPIB.

“Companies are strongly advised to put in place sound procedures in areas such as purchasing and internal audit to avoid falling victim to acts of corruption by their employees.”

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