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Jakarta Post

KPK indicts company executive in transnational bribery case

  • Haeril Halim

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 19, 2015   /  05:46 am

Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors indicted PT Soegih Interjaya (SI) director Willy Sebastian Liem at the Jakarta Corruption Court on Monday.

Willy was accused of bribing former state oil and gas firm PT Pertamina director Suroso Atmo Martoyo to win a US$4 million contract to supply a fuel additive called tetraethyl lead (TEL) for a UK-based fuel additives manufacturer Innospec Limited.

PT SI was the sole agent for Innospec, formerly known as Octel Corporation, to sell TEL in Indonesia according an agreement between the two companies signed in 1982.

'€œThe money, amounting to $190,000, was given to Suroso by the defendant in order for him to approve Innospec, through PT SI, becoming the supplier of TEL for Pertamina'€™s mills between 2004 and 2005,'€ prosecutor Irene Putrie alleged in the indictment read to the court on Monday.

Suroso is another suspect in the case and the KPK is currently completing his dossier to prepare for his upcoming trial after the South Jakarta District Court rejected his pretrial petition in April.

The bribery allegedly took place in 2003 when Innospec and Pertamina signed an agreement to sell TEL at $9,975 per metric ton between 2003 and 2004 to Pertamina, while at the same time the Indonesian government was also launching a program to stop the use of TEL.

In May 2003, Willy instructed his subordinate Muhammad Syakir to inform Miltiades Papachristos, who was the regional sales director at Innospec, about the government'€™s campaign and they are alleged to have decided to bribe Pertamina officials.

Papachristos, who was sentenced by a court in the UK in 2010 in relation to the case, agreed with the plan and pledged to provide financial backing to support the bribery scheme.

Before the contract between PT SI and Pertamina expired in 2004, the defendant approached Suroso for a contract extension and demanded he exclude another company, TDS Chemical Co. Ltd., which was also seeking to obtain contract extensions from Pertamina.

Although Innospec charged a higher price of $9,975 per ton, compared to the $ 9,250 offered by TDS, it managed to win the project for another year, allegedly thanks to bribes given to Suroso from Innospec through PT SI. Prosecutors allege that Suroso demanded a slice of $500 for every ton of TEL sold by PT SI in Indonesia.

KPK prosecutors charged Willy under Article 5 of the Corruption Law on bribing state officials, which carries a maximum sentence of five years behind bars.

Willy is slated to appear at the Jakarta Corruption Court next Monday to prepare his defense statement against the KPK indictment in the bribery case.

The Innospec case was a handover investigation from the tenure of former KPK chief Tumpak Hatorangan Panggabean, who was appointed by then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to replace Antasari Azhar, who was convicted of murder in 2009.

The KPK cooperated with the UK authorities in investigating the bribery case involving the UK-based firm in 2010.

The name of Suroso was mentioned in Southwark Crown Court in England in 2010 as among those who received bribes from Innospec.

In March 2010, Innospec Limited, the UK arm of a US chemicals firm, appeared at the court and pleaded guilty to bribing officials in order to secure contracts for the supply of the chemicals. Innospec was fined $12.7 million.

In addition, the UK court also sentenced David P. Turner, who was Innospec'€™s sales and marketing director; and Paul Jennings, Innospec'€™s CEO.