Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

You are here: Home / Case database / Bruno Manser Fund vs. Sakto Group

Bruno Manser Fund vs. Sakto Group

Case overview

Date filed 2 January 2016
Current status Rejected
Issue Real estate company's breached disclosure requirements
Summary of the case In January 2016, Bruno Manser Fund, an NGO based in Switzerland, filed a complaint with the Canadian NCP against the Ottawa-based Sakto Group, a real estate and investment holding with close ties to the family of Sarawak Governor and former Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud of Malaysia. The complainants allege that the Sakto Group breached the OECD Guidelines disclosure requirements and lists several Canadian companies and companies in other countries including the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Malaysia. Given the close connection to the Taib Family, the complainants state that the Sakto Group should not only disclose its financial results, but also the sources of its fundings, in order to rule out suspicions that the company might be involved in laundering the proceeds of corruption from Malaysia. The complainants request that Sakto Group discloses its beneficial owners and provides detailed information on its activities, finances, group structure, governance and intra-group relations.
Developments/Outcome Upon receipt of the complaint, the Canadian NCP provided the parties with a draft Initial Assessment in October 2016, in which they accepted the case for mediation, stating the issues were substantiated and merit further examination. Rather than issuing the finalized Initial Assessment, the Canadian NCP later issued a draft Final Statement in March 2017 with plans to close the case stating that it concludes the complaint stating that offering its good offices would “not contribute to the purposes and effectiveness of the Guidelines,” no further explanation was provided. Shortly afterwards, the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) held a press conference over the draft Final Statement alleging that Canadian officials appear to have succumbed to corporate pressure from Sakto’s legal counsel given the change of position by the Canadian NCP and formally requests that the NCP issue a new Final Statement with a determination.

On 11 July 2017, the Canadian NCP published the revised Final Statement concluding the case. The NCP states that while it first considered offering facilitated dialogue between the parties, the NCP later changed its mind stating that the actions by both parties “including communication to third parties about the case, breaching confidentiality and challenging the NCP’s jurisdiction, indicated in the NCP’s view, an absence of the requisite level of good faith and willingness needed from parties to engage in a constructive dialogue.” The NCP states that the Sakto Group had aggressively challenged the NCP’s jurisdiction and that its legal counsel had also made a submission to the Canadian Deputy Minister of Justice. The NCP furthermore states that BMF had breached confidentiality provisions by holding a press conference and sharing information related to the case (it should be noted that BMF had only done so after the draft Final Statement had first been released to the parties). To conclude the case, the Canadian NCP recommends that: a) Sakto implement the OECD Guidelines, including its chapter on disclosure, b) that should Sakto approach the Government of Canada Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) in future to access trade advocacy support, the NCP recommends that the company’s actions during this NCP review process be taken into account by the TCS, c)given the behavior of BMF with respect to confidentiality in this case, should it file another request for review with the Canadian NCP in future, it would have to demonstrate that it is committed to honour, in good faith, the confidentiality undertaking of the Canadian NCP process before the NCP would consider the request for review.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Political involvement, Disclosure of information

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Canada
NCP address
NCP website http://www.ncp-pcn.gc.ca/
Other NCPs involved

Complainants

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible Sakto Group
Company address
Company website
Company in violation Sakto Group
Country of operations Canada
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
19 July 2018 OECD Watch statement Statement from OECD Watch and MiningWatch Canada download pdf (431Kb)  
11 May 2018 National Contact Point Canada reject The Canadian NCP issues a Revised Final Statement. download pdf (159Kb)  
11 May 2018 National Contact Point Canada letter The Candian Department of Justice issues a cease and desist letter to both the Bruno Manser Fund and OECD Watch asking them to remove from their websites the Canadian NCP's draft Initial Assessment from October 2016. download pdf (314Kb)  
11 July 2017 National Contact Point Canada statement The Final Statement of the Canadian NCP download pdf (323Kb)  
5 April 2017 Bruno Manser Funds press release The Bruno Manser Fund issues a press release requesting that the Canadian NCP close the case within 30 days, while issuing a new Final Statement condemning Sakto Groups non-compliance with the OECDs disclosure standards, while also excluding the Sakto Group from Canadian government services due to their lack of willingness to comply with the OECD Guidelines. download pdf (54Kb)  
3 April 2017 Bruno Manser Funds press release The Bruno Manser Fund issues a press release over the Canadian NCPs plans to dismiss their compliant against the Sakto Group despite having earlier stated that the compliant was “material to the Guidelines and substantiated.” The NGO states that the NCPs performance has been scandalous, as Canadian officials “bow to corporate pressure and disavow their own duties” to implementing the OECD Guidelines. download pdf (69Kb)  
21 March 2017 National Contact Point Canada reject The Canadian NCP issues a Draft Final Statement for both parties to review, in which it rejects the case stating that the NCP has concluded that offering mediation would “not contribute to the purposes and effectiveness of the Guidelines” and closes the case. No explanation is provided as to why the NCP has concluded this, nor is the content from the Draft Initial Assessment incorporated in the Draft Final Statement. download pdf (352Kb)  
25 October 2016 National Contact Point Canada initial assessment The Canadian NCP issues a Draft Initial Assessment that is provided to both the Bruno Manser Fund and the Sakto Group for review. In the draft, the Canadian NCP states that “Based on the NCPs review of the documentation provided by the parties, and subsequent analysis of the factors outlined above, the NCP finds that issues presented in the Request for Review are material and substantiated, and that this, therefore, merits further examination.” Thus, the NCP offers a mediation process for the parties and states that it is the view of the NCP that consideration of the issues raised in the compliant would contribute to the OECD Guidelines as mediation would allow the parties to have a “fulsome discussion and examination of the expectations surrounding the disclosure of information by firms, including privately owned ones.”  
2 January 2016 Bruno Manser Funds file Specific Instance filed with Canadian NCP. The Candian NCP with supporting Australia, United Kingdom, United States NCPs, has engaged with both parties and is preparing its initial assessment. download pdf (232Kb)  

Personal tools

OECD Watch is hosted by