Report: Pristine Offshore Sdn Bhd becomes first company charged under Malaysia’s new corporate liability anti-corruption law

Pristine Offshore is accused of giving a bribe of RM321,350 to one Mazrin Ramli, the chief operating officer (COO) of Deleum Primera Sdn Bhd, as a reward to ensure Pristine Offshore was awarded a subcontract from Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd.
Pristine Offshore is accused of giving a bribe of RM321,350 to one Mazrin Ramli, the chief operating officer (COO) of Deleum Primera Sdn Bhd, as a reward to ensure Pristine Offshore was awarded a subcontract from Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd.

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — A maiden charge under a new anti-corruption provision targeting corporations was read out in court today against Pristine Offshore Sdn Bhd.

The offshore vessel company is the first ever to be accused under the newly gazetted Section 17A of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, The Edge reported this afternoon.

The news portal reported that Pristine Offshore is accused of giving a bribe of RM321,350 to one Mazrin Ramli, the chief operating officer (COO) of Deleum Primera Sdn Bhd, as a reward to ensure Pristine Offshore was awarded a subcontract from Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd.

The Edge also reported that Chew Ben Ben, Pristine Offshore’s former director, was charged under Section 16(b)(A) of the MACC Act 2009 for giving the bribe to Mazrin allegedly between June 29 and October 14 last year in Kinrara Niaga 3, Puchong.

According to the news report, the subcontract promised to Pristine Offshore was for the supply of workboats, a master and crew and other related marine services and offshore support, along with other marine support for maintenance, construction and modification services required by Petronas Carigali.

Pristine Offshore’s current director, Datuk Abdul Kamal Mohd Mydeen, was reportedly present in the Sessions Court here today as a representative of the company.

Under Section 17A of the MACC Act, a company and its employees are liable to legal action if found giving or offering gratification to obtain, retain, or gain an advantage for the organisation, so long as they are concerned in the management of the company’s affairs.

As such, if Pristine Offshore is found guilty, it will be subject to a fine no less than 10 times the bribe amount and a maximum jail sentence of 20 years.

The Companies Act 2016 states that any officers of the company, including directors and the company secretary, are liable to serve imprisonment on behalf of the company, which in this case includes Abdul Kamal.

Former director Chew, if convicted, also faces imprisonment of no longer than 20 years, and a fine no less than five times the bribe amount.

Both the accused later claimed trial before Sessions Court Judge Rozilah Salleh, who set bail at RM150,000 for Chew and RM200,000 bail for Pristine Offshore with one surety.

Chew was also made to surrender his passport to the court. Both he and the company were represented by Bernard Francis & Associates while Ahmad Akram Gharib from the Attorney-General’s Chambers prosecuted.

The Edge reported that Mazrin, a senior executive at Deleum Primera, allegedly received the bribe from Pristine Offshore.

The news portal said Deleum Primera is a 60 per cent-owned unit of public-listed company Deleum Bhd, which is currently facing a RM19.88 million civil suit for fraud.

The Edge reported that Deleum Primera had filed a suit against four of its own senior executives, as well as against two Petronas Carigali tender evaluation committee members, and three of its subcontractor companies for the alleged breach of fiduciary duty.

Chew is also one of the witnesses in the ongoing corruption trial of former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He previously testified in the trial that the RM6 million bribe was given to Ahmad Zahid in 2017 by Datasonic Group Bhd, another company where he sits as the deputy managing director.

Chew claimed the payment was a political donation meant for Barisan Nasional to be used in the 2018 general election.

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