Following a bribery charge, a Malaysian operator has prohibited international vendor Alcatel-Lucent from involvement in any contracts, tenders and joint ventures for the next year. Axiata imposed the ban following the vendor’s confirmation to the US Department of Justice that it secured contracts with Axiata subsidiary Celcom through “improper payments”.
The charge stems from a contract awarded to the vendor by Celcom in 2009, at which point the operator was a subsidiary of fixed-line provider Telekom Malaysia. The US Securities and Exchange Commission, together with the Department of Justice, published allegations against Alcatel-Lucent which in January this year prompted both Telekom Malaysia and Axiata to investigate the alleged bribes paid by the vendor in Malaysia.
Alcatel-Lucent has attracted controversy over bribe allegations in the past, only recently settling outstanding charges from the Department of Justice over instances of bribery in Latin America and Asia from before 2006.
The vendor’s one year ban by Axiata came into effect on 18 February. Telekom Malaysia has barred the vendor from tenders for the same length of time.