Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Wed, March 05 2014, 7:36 AM
Karen Agustiawan, president director of state-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina, retracted on Tuesday her statement that several legislators and state officials had requested money from her company to pay off legislators.
Testifying in the trial of former Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Task Force (SKKMigas) head Rudi Rubiandini, Karen claimed that Pertamina had never paid off legislators to help smooth deliberations of the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s budget at the House of Representatives.
She claimed that Rudi was the only state official who ever asked Pertamina for money.
She told the Jakarta Corruption Court that on June 13, Rudi phoned her to ask Pertamina to provide US$150,000 to be paid to House members who were then deliberating the ministry’s budget. “I rejected the request, saying that Pertamina had already given the money to the House. I said that to stop him asking me again; although I had never given the House money,” Karen said.
She claimed to have no knowledge to which agency at the House Rudi planned to give the money.
Her testimony, however, contradicted the statement she gave to Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators, in which she claimed the money was to be given to the House budget committee.
In a KPK document containing her statement, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post, Karen told investigators that Rudi once phoned her to say that Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik and he had agreed that SKKMigas would provide $150,000 to help ease the House deliberations on the ministry’s budget, while another $150,000 would be provided by Pertamina.
Following her rejection, according to the documented statement, Rudi told Karen that he “would report this to Jero”.
However, Karen stopped short of mentioning Jero’s name during the trial hearing on Tuesday, saying that the statement in the KPK file was untrue.
She reiterated that besides Rudi, no other parties had asked for money from Pertamina.
The judges reminded Karen that she was under oath and that she risked being charged with perjury if she failed to tell the truth.
In her defense, Karen said, “That statement was not based on my direct experience, and I have clarified everything with KPK investigators. The only attempted payoff I know about was when Rudi phoned me. As far as I know, there were no others. Nobody other than Rudi asked me for money.”
In the KPK document, Karen also revealed that Rudi had repeatedly asked her for money for other matters. She said Jero had also asked her for money for legislators’ “holiday bonuses”, known locally as THR, in 2012.
“Besides Rudi Rubiandini, other people requested money from Pertamina. They were 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 in the document.
She added that the ministry had used 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 requested 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,” Karen said in the document.
In court, however, Karen denied her entire statement that she had given to the KPK.