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Oman gas chief detained for bribery

Former Oman National Gas Compay CEO Goutam Sen (from the Muscat Daily)Oman’s National Gas Company said Wednesday that its chief executive was detained by the public prosecutor over suspected bribery.

The prosecutor’s office revealed the detention earlier this week, according to a report by Oil Patch Asia.

The report named the detained CEO as Goutam Sen.

The National Gas Company said the firm’s financial controller would become acting CEO.

Sen’s detention “was part of a wider corruption probe involving Oman’s oil industry and related sectors,” OPA  said.

In November last year, the head of the tenders committee at Oman’s state-run Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) went on trial for taking a bribe from two local executives.

A public prosecutor in a court in Muscat accused Juma Al Hinai of receiving the bribe from executives of Galfar Engineering and Contracting.

Hinai has denied the charges.

Last month two executives of Oman’s Galfar Engineering were jailed and ordered to pay fines by an Omani court.

A statement released this week by the National Gas Company said: “The Board of Directors wish to inform that the Company has received a reply from the public prosecution regarding the detention of the Company’s CEO . . . The reply received states that the CEO has been accused of bribing a government official.”

The statement said the company’s “business would run as usual” and directors “do not expect any financial implications on the company due to this development.”

More than 20 Omani government officials and private executives have gone on trial on charges of offering or accepting bribes in exchange for contracts, mostly in infrastructure projects, the report said.

The anti-graft campaign by leader Sultan Qaboos came after 2011 mass protests across Oman against government corruption.

National Gas Company buys and markets liquefied petroleum gas produced by Omani refineries. It has 170 employees and reported 2012 revenues of about $90 million.

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A version of this story first appeared in Oil Patch Asia is republished here with permission.

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