Trafigura banned for corruption

Malta has banned Trafigura from supplying oil pending investigation into corruption activities by the Company.

Malta police last week arrested and started prosecuting former Energy authority  Chairman Tancred Tabone and his adviser Frank Sammut accused of bribery, corruption and money laundering in the procument of oil. More arrests are expected, legal sources told Reuters.

A statement from  Enermalta, the  state-owned energy group has excluded two trading companies Trafigura and  TOTSA  a subsidiary of Total from oil supply contracts pending the conclusion of police investigations concerning alleged illegal commissions paid by the Company to Government officials  in 2004 and 2005.

Trafigura is supplying Zambia with US$500million oil in controversial circumstances in which Minister of Justice who is also Patriotic Front Secretary General Wynter Kabimba has been implicated. The Government has failed to explain why Trafigura was granted the contract when it was not the most responsive in the tenders

The arrests  follow a government decision to grant a pardon to Total’s former local agent, George Farrugia, in return for information given to the police over oil procurement corruption involving the various transnational companies.

“The Fuel Procurement Committee has decided to exclude Trafigura and TOTSA in view of the current investigations,” a spokeswoman for Enemalta

TOTSA is the oil trading arm of French oil major Total and Trafigura is a top five private oil trading house.

“Trafigura recognises that these are serious accusations,” the trading house said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

“In Malta, fuel supplies to Enemalta are made through a public tender process managed by the Government’s Fuel Procurement Committee; Trafigura has regularly submitted bids in accordance with this tender process and when successful has delivered fuel to Enemalta,” it said. “We are keeping the matter under review.”

The Enemalta committee also decided to cancel its most recent fuel procurement tenders, even though some offers had already been received, as a precaution.

“TOTSA learnt via the press its exclusion from Enemalta’s fuel supply contracts. Totsa is not aware of being part of an investigation. We have no knowledge that illegal commissions were paid in 2004 and 2005,” a spokeswoman for TOTSA said.