They could be right but it would be a problematic way of making money. As you’re aware; palm oil is sold at market prices and via a regulated palm oil body entity. To ensure that part of the proceeds can be used as kickbacks or commissions; the palm oil would have to be sold at a higher price and the seller and buyer would have to be in on it.Some of my friends believe that the counter trade in palm oil is what enabled local commissions earned but that is just me repeating speculation on my part.
A far simpler way to make money and one with much more deniability is having local (linked) companies to act as a 3rd party; to get a “fee” for services provided/rendered. That “fee” can be shared. I’m not saying that all purchased conducted via a local company involves corruption but it does happen.
Most local companies have been a drain on resources; not providing any value added services. A few however have done well; one such company did R&D on a IR resistant paint and even exported it to ASEAN and Europe. Others perform vital services to the MAF by providing support for various types of gear.