February 8, 2018 / 10:19 AM / in 8 months

Two Brightoil Petroleum employees charged in Singapore court for fuel theft

SINGAPORE, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Two employees of Brightoil Petroleum (Singapore) Pte Ltd were charged in court in the city-state this week for their alleged involvement in the theft of marine fuel on board a company barge, a company executive said in a statement on Thursday.

Brightoil Singapore’s Chief Operating Officer Stephen Qi Jun said in an emailed note to clients provided to Reuters by a company spokeswoman that the two defendants, Robby Lirpa Sugiharto, 34, and Sapidi, 44, are employees of Brightoil Petroleum (Singapore). However, their future employment with the company would depend on the outcome of the investigation, the statement said.

No charges have been alleged against Brightoil Petroleum (Singapore) as a company.

Brightoil is in full compliance with local laws and regulations, Qi Jun said.

The Brightoil employees are currently suspended and their employment could be terminated based on the outcome of the investigation, the Brightoil spokeswoman told Reuters by phone.

Brightoil “will not tolerate any illegal conducts of any employees, and will provide full assistance to the police for their investigation of this incident,” said Qi Jun in the statement.

Singapore’s Police Coast Guard this week arrested and brought charges against 11 men for their involvement in an illegal transaction of marine gasoil (MGO), a Singapore Police Force statement said on Monday.

An investigation revealed nine crew members of a foreign-registered tugboat were involved in the purchase of the stolen MGO along with another two crew members of a Singapore-registered tanker for misappropriating the fuel without their company’s knowledge, the police statement said.

The arrests occurred only weeks after Singapore authorities arrested over a dozen men for a larger oil heist at Royal Dutch Shell’s Bukom refinery in Singapore, with police seizing millions of dollars in cash and a small tanker.

As the investigation is ongoing, Qi Jun said that Brightoil would not comment further on details of the incident.

If convicted of the charge of criminal breach of trust, the 11 men face up to 15 years imprisonment and are liable to a fine, the police statement said.

Port authorities in 2017 ranked Brightoil Singapore, a unit of Hong Kong-listed Brightoil Petroleum, as the 17th largest supplier of marine fuels in Singapore, the world’s largest marine refuelling hub.

Brightoil Petroleum suspended trading in its shares in October after delaying the release of its 2017 annual financial results. (Reporting by Roslan Khasawneh Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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