KPI Bridge Oil, Straits Bunkering Employees Face Corruption Charges in Singapore

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday October 20, 2021

Singapore's authorities have filed corruption charges relating to deals in 2017-2018 against two men employed by KPI Bridge Oil and Straits Bunkering at the time.

Azfal Bin Mohamed Ekbar, a bunker trader at KPI Bridge Oil Singapore Pte Ltd, and Shafiz Bin Nezammuddin, director of Straits Bunkering Pte Ltd, have been charged with 'allegedly obtaining and giving gratifications in relation to the trading and supplying of bunker fuel', Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said in a statement on its website on Tuesday.

Ekbar received 'gratifications' totalling at least $191,250 from Bin Nezammuddin on multiple occasions between July 2017 and August 2018, as well as a loan of SG$90,000, in return for nominating Straits Bunkering for the supply of marine fuels to KPI's customers, the CPIB alleges. Ekbar also allegedly paid a total of $161,800 and SG$5,000 to other individuals on multiple occasions in return for them ordering bunkers through KPI.

The allegations predate KPI Bridge Oil's merger with OceanConnect Marine last year, since which the company has been called KPI OceanConnect.

"The allegation of corruption from the Singapore authorities originates from trades dating back to 2017 and 2018," Søren Høll, CEO of KPI OceanConnect, said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

"At this time CPIB notified KPI OceanConnect (formerly KPI Bridge Oil) of potential wrongdoings and KPI swiftly responded by suspending the employee while investigations were ongoing.

"As a result of charges being pressed yesterday, the company has decided to terminate the employment effective immediately.

"We cannot accept any suspicion that our traders do not live up to the company's high standards of business practice.

"Since the first request, KPI OceanConnect has worked closely together with Singaporean authorities in solving this matter.

"The company has on several occasions supplied CPIB with documentation and information to help shed light on the case at hand."

Representatives of Straits Bunkering did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Ship & Bunker on Wednesday.

A successful conviction could result in fines of up to SG$100,000 and a prison sentence of up to five years, the CPIB said.