UK oilfield services firm Petrofac is to establish a compliance and ethics board while it continues to be investigated for fraud.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has launched an investigation into the firm, whose chief executive and chief operating officer have been interviewed under caution, in relation to dealings at Unaoil.
Petrofac hired Monaco-based Unaoil to provide local consultancy services, mainly in Kazakhstan, between 2002 and 2009.
In a statement, Petrofac said: “As part of the company’s ongoing commitment to, and focus on, compliance and ethics, Petrofac today announces that it has established a new Compliance and Ethics Committee of the Board.
“This committee will be responsible for overseeing the company’s compliance and ethics programme, as well as the continued monitoring of the effectiveness of the company’s code of conduct and other Petrofac policies and standards in relation to compliance and ethics.
“These include the standard for the prevention of bribery and corruption and the ethical, social and regulatory risk policy.”
The committee will be made up of three non-executive directors. Petrofac has also appointed a senior external specialist to respond to the SFO investigation.
Creating the committee may arguably be a case of shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted. An internal investigation into the company’s working practices could have prevented such problems – which should be seen as a warning to other companies.
But its actions now may succeed in persuading the SFO that Petrofac is serious about tackling the problem, which may lead to more lenient treatment.
Read our article: THE SERIOUS FRAUD OFFICE: WAYS TO DEAL WITH IT