Former official confirms House payoff

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Wed, February 26 2014, 9:36 AM

No punning around: Democrat “funny man” lawmaker Sutan Bhatoegana testifies at the Jakarta Corruption Court on Tuesday in the trial of former Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Task Force (SKKMigas) chief Rudi Rubiandini. JP/Wendra Ajistyatama

A witness in the graft trial of former Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Task Force (SKKMigas) chairman Rudi Rubiandini revealed on Tuesday details of the payoffs made by the agency to the House of Representatives Commission VII, which oversees energy and natural mineral resources.

Didi Dwi Sutrisno, former financial head at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, acknowledged that he had delivered US$140,000, taken from SKKMigas’ coffers, to an aide of Commission VII member Sutan Bhatoegana. The aide in question was identified as Irianto Muchyi.

Didi said the ministry’s former secretary-general, Waryono Karno, had instructed him to provide money to Commission VII, but “I told him we didn’t have money available at that time”.

“Pak Waryono then called a member of his staff, Ego Syahrial, for assistance. After talking with Ego, Pak Waryono asked me to make a call to a SKKMigas officer named Hardiono. I handed the phone to Pak Waryono and they had a conversation.”

Soon after the conversation, Didi said, Hardiono arrived with $140,000 in cash.

“Pak Waryono then wrote down the names of the people set to receive money based on their positions: the chairman, deputy chairmen, administrative staff and members [of Commission VII],” Didi said.

The money was put in four envelopes, each containing $7,500, for the chairman and deputy chairmen; 43 envelopes for members, each of which contained $2,500, and one envelope containing $2,500 for the Commission VII administrative staff.

Didi said the ministry also paid “pocket money” for overseas trips taken by a number of Commission VII members, but he did not disclose the total amount.

“Irianto, who accepted the envelopes, signed a receipt as proof of delivery. I have handed the receipt to KPK investigators,” Didi said, adding that the money was paid on May 28, 2013.

Didi also revealed that Rudi’s aide, Hermawan, paid another $50,000 on July 23, 2013, to be given to Commission VII via Waryono, a payment that Didi claimed “related to a meeting then being held at the Commission”.

According to Didi, the money never reached Commission VII as Waryono asked him to keep the money.

A personal secretary, Tri Kusuma Lidya, who also testified during the trial hearing on Tuesday, confirmed the delivery of the “two packages” to the ministry, but claimed she did not know what was inside them.

“I was asked [by Pak Rudi] to find people who could send the ‘packages’; I did not deliver them,” Lidya said.

Sutan, who also testified during the hearing, denied the testimonies, saying they were untrue.

“There were no such payments,” Sutan said, adding that he was aware that his personal aide visited the ministry but claimed it was only to collect documents.

Waryono also denied Didi’s account: “No such thing took place. I am under oath and here I state that this is not true.”

The revelations have added a twist to a case that has implicated several senior officials at the ministry, SKKMigas and Commission VII; appearing to confirm the public’s long-held suspicion of massive graft among the sector’s policymakers.

Waryono has been named a suspect in the case, while Sutan was recently banned from traveling overseas, fueling further speculation that he will also be named a suspect.

Rudi’s dossier also revealed that Sutan had pressed Rudi to pay Idul Fitri holiday bonuses (THR) in 2013. Due to the pressure, Rudi said he had paid $200,000 to Commission VII member Tri Yulianto.

Earlier in the trial, one of Rudi’s staff members, Gerhard Marteen Rumeser, testified that lawmakers had forced Rudi to pay them $1 million. Rumeser claimed the money was an unpaid “debt” that Rudi’s predecessor, Raden Priyono, had promised to lawmakers.


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