THAI Asks for More Time on Bribe Inquiry

13th Apr 2017

Thai Airways International (THAI) is apparently not yet ready to come out with the final results of its internal investigation into the Rolls Royce bribery scandal involving several of its former executives. According to the Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, THAI has asked to be given more time on the probe, until the end of the month.

The carrier, said Minister Arkhom, has so far not provided any progress reports regarding the investigation and its probe is taking several weeks longer than expected.

THAI’s final report should focus on how the airline procured the engines for its planes during the periods when the bribery took place.

According to the minister, the Transport Ministry will only consider the finding from the carrier once it is finished, but it doesn’t have any duty to investigate the case itself.

Meanwhile, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is conducting its own investigation and is focusing on the third phase of the Rolls Royce bribery. This phase occurred during the first Thaksin Shinawatra administration between 2004 and 2005. The NACC is unable to investigate the earlier two cases as the statute of limitations on those has already expired.

Thai Airways has also sent regular updates of its probe to the NACC as the commission also asked for details on specific parts of the engine purchase from Rolls Royce from the carrier.

Rolls Royce admitted to the Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in January this year that it paid around 254 million baht to different individuals (including some from the government) to ensure they secure a deal with the government for the purchase of Rolls Royce Trent 500 engines for seven Airbus A340 planes as well as the purchase of Rolls Royce Trent 500 engines for six Boeing 777 planes.

According to the Rolls Royce statement to the SFO and the British court, the bribery involved payments of a total of 1.28 billion baht or $36.38 million and took place between 1991 and 2005. In addition to Thailand, the engine manufacturer was involved in similar bribery scandals in Indonesia, India, China, Russia and Nigeria.

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