Ex-executive of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power denies Thai power project bribe
A FORMER executive of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Inc. on Friday denied in Tokyo court bribing a Thai public servant for assistance in a power plant project, in a case notable for being the first in Japan to involve a plea bargain deal.
Satoshi Uchida, 64, was indicted for allegedly conspiring with two subordinate executives to pay 11 million baht (K525.8 million/US$345,000) in February 2015 to a senior official of the Thai transport ministry for his help in facilitating the unauthorised delivery of cargo for the power plant project to a local port.
“I have not provided money in conspiracy” with the two, Uchida told the Tokyo District Court in his first court hearing.
The other executives – Fuyuhiko Nishikida, 63, and Yoshiki Tsuji, 57 – admitted to the bribery allegation during their trial in December.
Prosecutors claim Nishikida and Tsuji reported to Uchida that they were asked for a bribe by the Thai official, who has still not been identified, and Uchida approved and paid it through a Thai construction company by creating a fraudulent contract.
Under the plea bargain deal, MHPS escaped indictment in exchange for its cooperation with the investigation and trials by providing necessary documents.
The company learned of the matter in March 2015 after being alerted by a whistleblower, and later reported it to the Tokyo prosecutors following an internal probe.
The prosecutors offered a plea bargain and reached an agreement with MHPS in June, the same month the system was introduced in the country for organised crime and bribery cases.
Thailand’s National AntiCorruption Commission in July last year recommended that bribery charges be brought against four or five officials who allegedly demanded a total of 20 million baht from the Japanese company when it delivered equipment by sea to build the power plant.
It said at the time that it was looking into the activities of a Marine Department official, a local politician, a village headman and a marine police officer. The Japanese company reportedly supplied pictures of the suspects. There has been no follow-up in the case since then.