KPK expedites probe into ESDM graft case

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Thu, January 30 2014, 9:23 AM

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said on Wednesday it would speed up its investigation into a bribery case at the office of Energy and Mineral Resources Minister and senior ruling Democratic Party politician Jero Wacik.

The agency questioned on Wednesday former Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Task Force (SKKMigas) head and graft suspect Rudi Rubiandini in the case.

KPK spokesperson Johan Budi said Rudi, now standing trial for bribery in a separate case, was questioned regarding the ministry’s former secretary-general Waryono Karno, who has been charged with accepting gratuities.

Previously, the KPK interrogated a number of top officials in connection to the case, including members of the House of Representatives’ Commission VII overseeing energy and natural mineral resources — Sutan Bhatoegana, Zainuddin Amali and Tri Yulianto — and state-owned oil company Pertamina president director Karen Agustiawan.

All those questioned have denied any wrongdoing.

Jero is the only official mentioned in the Rudi case dossier who has not been questioned by the KPK. “As far as I know we don’t have a plan to question the minister, but if the investigators need his testimony then he can be summoned,” Johan said.

Rudi’s dossier revealed details of Jero’s role in devising a scheme to pay off politicians at the House to disburse the ministry’s budget allocation.

In the dossier, Karen, who was being questioned as a witness, told KPK investigators that Rudi once phoned her to say that Jero and he had agreed that SKKMigas would provide US$150,000 to help expedite the deliberation of the ministry’s budget at the House, while another $150,000 would be provided by Pertamina.

Karen said that the money would be given to House lawmakers who she believed were in the budget committee. “The money would be delivered to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s secretary-general, Waryono. Because the deadline for the delivery was 3 p.m., Rudi demanded that the money be in Waryono’s hands before 1 p.m.

“I then said Pertamina would give the money directly to the House, not through Waryono, so Pertamina should not be asked for money again. Rudi then said that he would report this to Jero,” Karen said.

These revelations have added a twist to the case, which has implicated top officials at the ministry, SKKMigas and Commission VII, confirming decades-long public suspicion of major graft among the sector’s senior policymakers.

During a raid at Waryono’s office in August last year, the KPK confiscated $200,000. Jero has repeatedly denied allegations that this money, which was allegedly from Rudi, was intended for him.

After the questioning on Wednesday, Rudi said that nothing new was discussed, refusing to answer further questions from reporters. “I’ve just been questioned regarding Pak Waryono. There is nothing new being asked by investigators,” Rudi said at the KPK headquarters.

On Monday after the questioning, Karen denied she made cash payments to lawmakers on Commission VII.


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