Galfar MD sentenced to three years in prison on corruption charges

Galfar official and member of Finance Ministry also jailed
Galfar MD sentenced to three years in prison on corruption charges
Published: 13 January 2014 - 7:45 a.m.

The managing director of Galfar Engineering & Contracting, Mohammad Ali, has been sentenced to three years in jail after being convicted on corruption charges.

Galfar business development manager Abdul Majeed Nushad was jailed for two years following a hearing in Oman’s Court of First Instance. Juma Al Hinai, an official in the Finance Ministry who also serves as head of the tenders committee at state-owned Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), has also been sentenced to three years in jail and fined $1.5m (OR600,000). He was banned from holding public office for 20 years.

More than 20 government officials and private executives from Oman’s oil industry and related sectors are on trial on charges of offering or accepting bribes in exchange for contracts, mostly in infrastructure projects.

Ali, a former head of Oman Contracting Association, maintained his innocence throughout the trial, which began in November. As well as the prison sentence, he was also fined $1.5m (OR600,000).

In a statement, Galfar Engineering & Contracting said that Ali’s bail has been set at $750,000 and that defence lawyers for the two executives have said they will appeal the judgment.

Ali is the founder of the Oman Petroleum Alliance and the former vice chairman of the state-backed Omanisation Joint Committee. He was awarded the Oman Civil Order for his services to the sultanate and, in 2004, received an Outstanding Non-Resident Indian Award.

Nushad, who had initially denied the charges but changed his plea during the hearings, was ordered to pay 200,000 rials ($519,000), the judge said. Ali and Nushad, who hold Indian citizenship, are to be deported after they serve their sentences.

Authorities in the sultanate had confiscated $2.2m (OR873,000) found in Hinai’s home.

The case took shape in November when prosecutors charged Hinai with accepting $519,000 (OR200,000) from Ali to facilitate Galfar operations and extend one of the contracts awarded by PDO.

Nushad was charged with complicity in providing the bribes.

Galfar’s statement by chief executive Dr Hans Erlings added that the company “will convene an urgent board meeting” to formulate an action plan to ensure that its operations are not affected by the judgement.

 

 

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