Ex-ex­ec­u­tive of Mit­subishi Hi­tachi Power de­nies Thai power project bribe

The Myanmar Times - - Asean Focus -

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.

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