Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Wed, January 08 2014, 10:04 AM
Former Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Task Force (SKKMigas) chief Rudi Rubiandini admitted on Tuesday to receiving kickbacks as he could not resist the ever-larger sums funneled by businesses, legislators and colleagues at the agency.
After the first hearing of his trial at the Jakarta Corruption Court, Rudi said there were demands from the agency’s “stakeholders” for money in exchange for the smooth operation of the agency.
“It’s true that I accepted bribes,” said Rudi. “But that was after I strongly tried to resist it for five months from January to May . However, pressures from the stakeholders, coupled with the enormous offers finally forced me to resort to it.”
According to the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) prosecutors, Rudi also allegedly received money from his underlings.
Former SKKMigas deputy chief Yohanes Widjanarko, now the agency’s chief, was accused of giving Rudi US$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 the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry secretary-general Waryono Karno,” prosecutor Riyono said.
During a raid at Waryono’s office in August, the KPK confiscated $200,000. Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik, a senior Democratic Party politician, has repeatedly denied allegations that the money was intended for him.
Prosecutors claimed that Rudi was involved in more than six instances of illicit practices and had allegedly received a total of $2.42 million in kickbacks.
Among the allegations include the S$200,000 (US$157,000) and $900,000 bribes from the president of Singapore-based oil trading firm Kernel Oil, Widodo Ratanachaithong, through Simon Gunawan Tanjaya, an executive at the firm.
“The money was given for Rudi’s service in appointing Fossus Energy Pte Ltd. [another firm represented by Widodo] as the successful purchaser of the Senipah oil and condensate in June 2013,” Riyono said.
According to the court hearing, Widodo first met Rudi in April 2013 in Singapore, where he introduced himself as a trader and expressed his interest in participating in SKKMigas tenders.
At that time Widodo said that he represented four oil firms: Kernel Oil, Fossus Energy, Fortek Thailand Co. Ltd. and World Petroleum Energy Pte Ltd.
Rudi introduced Widodo to his golf trainer, Deviardi, a middleman in the case. Deviardi has been named a suspect.
“Widodo then met with Deviardi at the Mandarin Hotel in Singapore and gave $200,000 to be handed to Rudi. Deviardi kept the money in his deposit box at the CIMB Bank in Singapore. Deviardi reported to Rudi and Rudi said ‘Okay just keep the money at first’,” Riyono said.
“On July 26, Deviardi again gave $300,000 from Widodo to Rudi, of which $200,000 was given to Sutan Bhatoegana [Democratic Party lawmaker] through Tri Julianto while the remainder was kept by Deviardi in a Bank Mandiri deposit box,” the prosecutor said.
Rudi is also accused of accepting $522,500 from the president director of PT Kaltim Parna Industri, Artha Meris Simbolon, for his service in lowering the price of gas sold to the firm.
Prosecutors allege Rudi laundered the bribe money through cars, houses and luxury watches.
Rudi is accused of instructing Deviardi to spend Rp 1.6 billion ($130,751) on a Volvo XC90; Rp 630 million on a Toyota Camry; and $11,500 on a Rolex watch as birthday gifts for Rudi’s wife. He is also accused of using the money to buy a house in Menteng, Central Jakarta.