Pertamina ‘paid off’ politicians

Hans David Tampubolon and Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Tue, January 28 2014, 9:02 AM

The case dossier on a high-profile graft defendant has revealed details of alleged payoffs that the president director of state energy company PT Pertamina, Karen Agustiawan, made to members of the House of Representatives.

In the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) case dossier on former Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Task Force (SKKMigas) chief Rudi Rubiandini, 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 US$150,000 to help ease the deliberation of the ministry’s budget at the House, while another $150,000 would be provided by Pertamina.

“The money would be given to House lawmakers who I believed were in the budget committee,” Karen said.

“The money would be delivered to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s secretary-general, Waryono Karyo. Because the deadline for the delivery was 3 p.m., Rudi demanded that the money should be in Waryono Karyo’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’s revelations in the dossier has added a twist to the case, which has implicated top officials at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, SKKMigas and House Commission VII overseeing energy and natural mineral resources, confirming decades-long public suspicion of major graft among the sector’s senior policymakers.

Karen also revealed that Rudi had repeatedly asked her for more money for other matters. She said that Jero had also asked her for money for legislators’ “holiday bonuses”, known locally as THR, in 2012.

Speaking after a 12-hour questioning session at the KPK headquarters on Monday, Karen had denied she made cash payments to lawmakers on Commission VII.

“I want to emphasize that I did not give a single penny to the House’s Commission VII. I will never let my office be used as an automated teller machine,” she said in a short statement after the questioning session wrapped up.

Karen was being questioned as a witness in the bribery case of Waryono, who had been named a suspect by the KPK.

Karen’s lawyer, Rudy Alfonso, said that his client was a victim in the scheme. He said Rudi threatened to report Karen to “the minister” after she turned down his request for a cash delivery for lawmakers.

“In a telephone conversation with Ibu Karen, Rudi said that he would report her to ‘the minister’. Rudi wanted her to give the money directly to secretary-general [Waryono],” Alfonso said. He declined to confirm whether “the minister” referred to Jero.

Rudi is standing trial for allegedly accepting bribes totaling $2.6 million from various sources.

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

During Rudi’s trial, KPK prosecutors alleged that former SKKMigas deputy chief Yohanes Widjanarko, now the agency’s chief, gave Rudi $600,000 while other top officials Gerhard Rumeser and Iwan Rahman allegedly handed over $350,000 and $50,000, respectively.

“The money from Gerhard was given [by Rudi] to Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry secretary-general Waryono Karyo,” prosecutor Riyono claimed.

Rudi told the Jakarta Corruption Court, while testifying in a related graft case in November, that he had been pressed by House Commission VII to pay Idul Fitri holiday bonuses in 2013.

Due to the pressure, Rudi said he had given $200,000 to PD lawmaker Tri Yulianto, reportedly on the instruction of another PD lawmaker, Sutan Bhatoegana, the chairman of House Commission VII.

Sutan denies that he ever received money from Rudi. “There was no such thing [namely, money from Rudi],” he said last week.


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