The case revolved around an incident at the government-owned Rusayl power plant, which resulted in one of the units being shut down. Oman National Electricity Company (ONEC), under the terms of its operating agreement, was obliged to pay a fine and a committee was established at MHEW to determine whether the RO 2.5 million ($6.4 million) penalty should be imposed. The company was accused of having bribed the committee to waive it. ONEC’s general manager of three decades was jailed for five years.

The corruption investigation was triggered by a report by the International Auditing Bureau, which sent a list of violations to the Capital Market Authority.

The sentences took many in the industry by surprise. ‘I don’t know why they have been so tough,’ says an official familiar with the process. ‘Perhaps they want to send a message that corruption won’t be tolerated.’