Friday, December 16, 2011

Axiata Group lifts suspension on Alcatel-Lucent

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 16): Axiata Group Bhd has lifted the group-wide suspension against the Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent and its group of companies which includes Alcatel-Lucent Malaysia Sdn Bhd (ALU Group) with effect from Friday.

Axiata said the decision to lift the suspension, enforced since March 23, was made after a thorough review that included external agency reports on the institutionalisation of policies, compliance structures and higher ethical standards throughout the ALU Group.

'It also takes into account satisfactory evidence and assurances by ALU Group that it has improved its policies and implemented enforceable measures to prevent a recurrence of any improper acts in the future and adherence to all applicable legal, regulatory and ethical requirements,' it said.

Axiata said the whole process was based on Axiata's zero tolerance policy against corruption in its business dealings and transactions.

To recap, Axiata had on March 23 imposed the suspension which included suspension of the ALU group from any invitations to submit any new tenders, entry into new contracts or continuing with any negotiations that are currently being undertaken with any group member.

The suspension also applied to any consortium, joint-venture or partnership of which any ALU group member is a party.

In 2010, the US Securities and Exchange Commission had charged ALU with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by paying bribes to foreign government officials to illicitly win business in Latin America and Asia.

The SEC alleged Alcatel's subsidiaries used consultants who performed little or no legitimate work to funnel more than US$8 million in bribes to government officials in order to obtain or retain lucrative telecommunications contracts and other contracts.

Alcatel agreed to pay more than US$45 million to settle the SEC's charges, and pay an additional US$92 million to settle criminal charges announced today by the US Department of Justice.

The settlement covered activities in several countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia, including Malaysia.

The investigation in Malaysia covers events that occurred between October 2004 and February 2006, and involve alleged improper payments to TELEKOM MALAYSIA BHD []'s (TM) employees.

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