Galfar Mohammad Ali, the founder and managing director of Galfar, one of Oman’s biggest construction companies and a prominent NRI businessman from Kerala, who was sentenced to 15 years by an Omani court for bribing a government official in order to get an extension in one of the contracts awarded by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), has been released from jail as part of the customary pardon. Dr. P. Mohammad Ali has resigned as the managing director of Galfar Engineering and Contracting after being convicted by an Omani court in a high profile corruption case.
P. Mohammad Ali was originally sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment. In March 2014, Mohammed Ali , was sentenced to 15 years in jail for bribery case of exchanging contracts from a state – owned oil company.Earlier in 2014, January Ali was also sentenced to three years in jail over bribes made to Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). The second case accused Ali for giving bribes to PDO employees to facilitate the awarding of contracts to his firm. There were in total five counts of bribery charged against him and the judiciary judged Ali to three years in jail for each of the five counts of bribery and ordered to take up the sentences to run consequently, for a total of 15 years. Ali was also asked to pay a fine of 1.744 million Omani Riyals for the convictions.
Galfar Engineering and Contracting was founded by Mohamed Ali in 1972, in the sultanate of Oman along with Sheikh Dr. Salem Said Al Fannah Al Araimi and is reportedly Oman’s single largest private sector employer.Galfar Engineering and Contracting began as a small construction company and grew to become Oman’s largest private sector employer and P. Mohammad Ali is known as being the richest Indian in Oman.
Galfar engineering & Contracting SAOG (Gulffar) is now Oman’s largest construction company with EPC capability in Oil & Gas, Roads, Bridges and Civil, Marine infrastructure and services & utilities operating in Oman , India and other GCC countries. Mohammad Ali was also the awarded “Civil Order Grade Three” by the Oman Government for the contribution to the emirate of Oman.
The construction company’s board of directors called for emergency meeting and issued a statement that the managing director, as well as another senior company employee who was also convicted, were stepped down from their positions in the publicly listed company during the time of bribe case.
The company’s statement on the MSM website was that “In light of the court decision against two senior members of the management and for the best interest of the stakeholders, the managing director has voluntary resigned from the membership of the board of directors,”.Ali resigned his post of Managing Director of Galfar Engineering and Contracting after his conviction and sentence during last January. The statement on MSM website also added that the board of directors had decided to accept the resignation to ensure that the company’s operations and businesses are not affected.
KPMG, an independent international firm, has now appointed to establish the accountability of the recent court case on the bribery issue, as well as review the existing policies and procedures of the company.
The companies policies and procedures will be reviewed by the board of directors for the company’s code of conduct including “whistle blowing”, says the post on the MSM website. The MSM website also notifies that the guilty verdict against Mohammad Ali and Abdul Majeed Naushad in the graft case was in their personal capacity.
The two Galfar officials and Juma Al Hinai, an official in the finance ministry who also serves as head of the tenders committee at state-owned Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), were found guilty by the court in the graft case.
Al Hinai, from whose house the authorities had confiscated 873,000 Rials in cash, was ordered by the judge at the Court of First Instance in Muscat to pay a fine of 600,000 Rials (Dh5.70 million). He was also banned from holding public office for 20 years.Mohammad Ali managing director who reportedly holds about 20 per cent stakes in Galfar Engineering was sentenced to 15 years to two years in jail.
Naushad, was ordered to pay 200,000 Rials.He had initially denied the charges but changed his plea during the hearings. Ali and Naushad,are to be deported after they serve their sentences. Ali and Naushad hold Indian citizenship.