The Jakarta Post
In his first public statement following his arrest by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on graft charges on Tuesday, suspended head of oil and gas regulator SKKMigas Rudi Rubiandini said that Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik and his political party had nothing to do with his case.
'No, no,' he told reporters, at the KPK headquarters in Kuningan, South Jakarta, in response to whether the bribe ' offered by an official from the Singapore-based oil trading company Kernel Oil Pte Ltd. ' was meant to finance the Democratic Party's presidential convention.
He also denied meeting with Jero and Simon Gunawan Tanjaya, the Kernel Oil official in question, prior to his arrest by the KPK, in which he was caught red handed accepting US$400,000 of a total $700,000 from Simon. He was also quick to refute the allegation that the money was supposed to be delivered to Jero.
His statement could save the Democratic Party, which is still reeling from a series of graft scandals involving its top members that caused its electability to plummet over the past few years.
Previously, a letter purportedly containing Rudi's admission that he was forced by the President's party to accept the bribe money to finance the party's primary was circulating on social media. Rudi said he did not write the letter.
Democratic Party politicians have asked the authorities to investigate the source of what they call a slanderous letter.
KPK spokesperson Johan Budi said that Rudi had not been summoned for questioning, but instead so the antigraft body could return confiscated items unrelated to the case. 'No money was returned,' he said.
While Rudi claims his innocent, Simon admitted to bribing Rudi on two occasions. Simon's lawyer, Junimart Girsang, said the bribes were to facilitate Kernel Oil's expansion in to the upstream oil and gas sector.
'Pak Simon wanted Kernel Oil to expand into SKKMigas working areas,' said Junimart.
To ensure the company had a good footing in the country's oil industry, Simon decided to pay $700,000 to Rudi in two installments, according to Junimart.
'Pak Simon admitted that there were two payments made in US dollars: $300,000 before Idul Fitri and $400,000 after,' Junimart said.
The bribe money was given to Rudi's golf instructor, Deviardi aka Ardi, who told Simon he was SKKMigas secretary.
'All the money was paid to Ardi. So, Ardi should be asked why he deceived Pak Simon,' he said.
Out of the $700,000, the KPK found the $400,000 that was delivered by Ardi to Rudi on the night of his arrest as well as $90,000 and S$127,000 in Rudi's house, Johan explained.
According to Johan, the US$90,000 was a part of the $300,000 that Simon claimed to have delivered before Idul Fitri.
Besides the bribe money, the KPK also found additional stashes of money not suspected to be related to the bribery attempt by Kernel Oil, igniting speculation that other companies bribed their way into the country's oil industry.
For example, after arresting Ardi, the KPK found $200,000 at his house on Jl. Hortikultura in Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta, as well as another $200,000 in the office of Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry secretary-general Waryono Karyo.
'We are currently investigating [where the money came from],' Johan said.