Hans Nicholas Jong and Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Wed, January 29 2014, 9:59 AM
More details have emerged on the role of Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik in devising a scheme to pay off politicians at the House of Representatives so that they would approve the disbursement of the ministry’s state budget allocation.
According to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) case dossier on former Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Task Force (SKKMigas) chief Rudi Rubiandini, PT Pertamina president director Karen Agustiawan told investigators, during a questioning session on Nov. 8, 2013, Jero had asked her for money to be given to lawmakers in 2012.
The money is being referred to by Jero as “holiday bonuses”, known locally as THR.
“The request was conveyed during a Pertamina board of directors meeting. [But] I didn’t know for whom I should prepare money for,” Karen told KPK investigators during her first questioning on Nov. 7, 2013.
Karen changed her statement the next day, saying that Jero — who is also a senior Democratic Party politician — and Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry secretary-general Waryono Karno had requested the money from Pertamina in 2012.
“Besides Rudi Rubiandini, there are other people who have requested money from Pertamina. They are Waryono Karno and Jero Wacik, who asked Pertamina directors Afdal Bahaudin and Hanung Budya for the holiday bonuses for House members in 2012,” Karen said.
She added that the ministry had taken the money to pay off members of the House’s budget committee.
“In exchange for approving the ministry’s state budget proposal, the budget committee members always asked for a sum of money from the ministry. The ministry would ask for the money from state-owned enterprises that deal in the energy sector, including Pertamina, SKKMigas, downstream oil and gas regulator BPH Migas, gas distributor PT Perusahaan Gas Negara [PGN], coal miner PT Bukit Asam, electric company PT PLN and so on,” said Karen.
Karen also said that Rudi once phoned her to say Jero and he had agreed that SKKMigas would provide US$150,000 to help grease the House’s deliberations on the ministry’s budget, while another $150,000 would be provided by Pertamina.
Meanwhile, a lawyer representing the Democratic Party, Denny Kailimang, said Jero had not responded to Karen’s statement in the dossier.
“He doesn’t know [what’s in the dossier]. The dossier should not have been leaked, so there is no way we can know what’s in it because it is very confidential. That means that only Karen knows [whether what’s in the dossier is true or not],” he told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
Denny said since there’s no procedure to verify what is in the dossier, Jero had not sought legal counsel.
“Because it is irrelevant, we don’t need to communicate about the matter because as far as we can tell it’s only hearsay,” he said.
Denny said that even if the authenticity of the dossier could be verified, it would not have serious consequences for Jero, as he was not a suspect in the KPK’s investigation.
In August last year, KPK investigators raided Waryono’s office at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and confiscated $200,000.
Waryono was charged for graft. Jero repeatedly denied allegations that the cash, which was allegedly from Rudi, was intended for him.
On Tuesday, the KPK questioned Tri Yulianto, member of House Commission VII overseeing energy and natural mineral resources as a witness in Waryono’s case.
Tri allegedly received $20,000 from Rudi and acted as a surrogate for fellow lawmaker Sutan Bhatoegana.
“There’s no such thing,” Tri said when asked about the cash payment.