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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Aker Solutions lodges police report over text messages in judicial fixing claim


Norway's largest oil services firm Aker Solutions today lodged a police report over text messages which had given rise to claims of judicial fixing in Malaysia.

Aker Solutions, in a statement, maintained the text messages published by Sarawak Report "appeared to be fabricated".

"Several circumstances show that the published text messages appear to be fabricated.

"Aker Solutions strongly rejects the suggestion of involvement in inappropriate interference with the legal process in Malaysia.

"The company has no knowledge of the allegations on the website nor the alleged text messages.

"Aker Solutions urges the Malaysian police to investigate the purported text messages as they are clearly intended to defame Aker Solutions," it said, without referring to Sarawak Report by name.

Sarawak Report claimed the text messages showed an Aker Solutions representative purportedly suggesting that the firm had engaged lawyers who were able to influence the decisions of the court.

This is over a legal battle between Aker Solutions and a former employee.

K Seetha, a former legal director with Aker Solutions, had sued the oil firm for purportedly stopping her from speaking to investigators. She was subsequently fired in February 2018, according to Reuters.

At the time, the MACC was investigating Aker Solutions for allegedly making false representations in order to secure licences for its Malaysian unit from Petronas.

However, Aker Solutions claimed she had breached confidentiality obligations.

"The aforementioned personnel case involves a former employee in Malaysia who was dismissed in 2018, and subsequently sued, after Aker Solutions, following internal and external investigations, had found several emails that the employee had sent to customers, business partners and other third parties which divulged confidential and sensitive information, and/or false information, which emails were fabricated to read as if sent by other persons

"The emails were aimed at smearing Aker Solutions’ reputation. Aker Solutions’ case is still pending before the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

"Later, the former employee sued the company for abuse of process. However, the case was struck out by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on May 10 on the grounds, among others, that the former employee had no reasonable cause of action, and that the suit was in itself an abuse of process," it said.

The case is now up for appeal at the Court of Appeal.

Following the circulation of the text messages suggesting that senior lawyers were able to influence the judiciary on the case, the Chief Justice's office lodged a police report on June 7.

Two senior lawyers implicated in the text messages have also denied the allegation.

Aker Solutions said it hopes to see a resolution to the matter.

"Aker Solutions is committed to operating with the highest standards of integrity in all our locations and looks forward to the Malaysian authorities resolving the case of the fabricated text messages," it said. - Mkini

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