Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras (ADR) (NYSE:PBR) announced on August 30 that it has suspended João Adalberto Elek Jr., the Chief Compliance Officer stating the potential conflict of interest. The move comes at the time when the company is seeking for ways to save its image over the ongoing massive corruption scandals.
The company’s board of directors made the decision to suspend Elek after they found out that his division awarded a contract on an urgent basis to an auditing firm Deloitte where his own daughter is a representative in December 2015 without bidding. The one-year contract which was worth over $8 million was awarded to Deloitte after the usual company guidelines were waived.
Petrobras stated that according to the state government’s ethics committee, Elek’s move to hire on a no-bid contract to Deloitte an auditing firm where his daughter worked signified a conflict of interest to the company. The board removed him so that he can appeal against the alleged accusations as highlighted by the Public Ethics Committee.
The Elek’s suspension comes a day after the court filed charges against his boss, Aldemir Bendine the company’s former chief executive, for allegedly soliciting bribes from Odebrecht SA, a construction company before joining Petrobras.
The two officials, Elek and Bendine joined Petrobras at the same time in 2015 with the intention of cleaning up the rampant corruption and mismanagement of funds in the company that had prompted the Car Wash investigations against several business executives and politicians who had connections with Petrobras.
Though Petrobras which is state-controlled, stated that the compliance division awarded the contract to Deloitte with a no-bid so as to speed up its internal investigations of corruption deals, and to avoid delays or interruption of the case, the Public Ethics Committee opposed the matter and maintained that Elek remains suspended to allow him to defend against the allegations.
The Petrobras board made the decision to temporarily suspend Mr. Elek after analyzing the resolution made by the Public Ethics Committee of the President of the Brasilian Republic.