Ex-Pertamina official named bribery suspect in Innospec case
A former Pertamina official has been named a suspect in a bribery case involving a UK-based manufacturing firm.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) says it has already charged Suroso Atmomartoyo, a former director at state oil and gas firm PT Pertamina, with accepting gratuity from Innospec, a UK-based manufacturer of fuel additives, to help it secure contracts for the supply of a fuel additive called tetraethyl lead (TEL).
“We have named the former processing director at Pertamina, known by his initial S.A.M., a suspect in the case,” KPK spokesperson Johan Budi told reporters on Tuesday.
He added that the suspect was believed to “have accepted gratuity in connection to the procurement of TEL”, which can boost the octane value of gasoline.
TEL is not seen as profitable here because the Indonesian government encourages the use of lead-free
Indonesia initially intended its gas to be lead-free in 1999, but this was not realized until 2006.
The name of Suroso was mentioned in the Southwark Crown Court in England last year as among those who received bribes from Innospec. In March last year, Innospec Limited, the UK arm of a US chemicals firm, appeared at the Southwark Crown Court and pleaded guilty to bribing officials in order to secure contracts for the supply of the chemicals. Innospec was fined US$12.7 million after admitting to bribing Indonesian officials.
Innospec sold the TEL to Pertamina between 2002 and 2006 through its agent, PT Soegih Interjaya (PTSI). During this period, the sales of TEL to Indonesia were $170.17 million. The agents received $11.7 million as commission.
However, Johan declined to explain whether Suroso was named a suspect because his name was mentioned in the court in England.
“I have yet to learn the details of this gratuity allegedly paid between 2004 and 2005. But the case is linked to the procurement of the TEL,” he said.
A document from the same court also said that former director general for oil and gas at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry Rahmat Sudibyo also received bribes from Innospec. The PTSI allocated the bribes under the names “Suroso fund” and “Sudibyo fund”.
Yet, according to Johan, there was just one suspect for the time being. Johan also refused to disclose when exactly his office named Suroso a suspect, saying it was “just a while ago”.
Innospec’s parent company, Innospec Inc., is listed on the US-based NASDAQ stock exchange, which means that the case was also presided over by US governmental authorities.
Innospec has also pleaded guilty to bribing Indonesian and Iraqi officials, violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and agreed to pay US authorities $27.5 million in fines last year.
The KPK announced that Suroso was a suspect just after KPK investigators summoned five former top officials at Pertamina for questioning as witnesses in relation to the Innospec case on Tuesday morning.
The five arrived at the KPK at around 10 a.m. They are former president director for the 2000–2003 tenure Baihaki Hakim, former president director from 2003–2004 Ariffi Nawawi, former president director from 2004–2006 Widya Purnama and former president director from 2006–2009 Ari Hernanto Soemarno, as well as former vice president Iin Arifin Takhyan.
Dody Abdul Kadir, a member of the team of lawyers representing the five, confirmed that his clients were being questioned as witnesses in relation to alleged gratuities received in the TEL procurement.
He also confirmed that the questioning was related to “the Innospec case at the Southwark Crown Court in England”.