The Jakarta Post
The Supreme Court has acquitted Karen Galaila Agustiawan, former president director of state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina, of all graft charges, overturning an eight-year prison sentence imposed by the Jakarta Corruption Court last year.
Supreme Court spokesperson Andi Samsan Nganro said that the ruling was announced on Monday.
The justices that presided over the case were chief justice Suhadi and justices Krisna Harahap, Abdul Latif, Mohammad Askin and Sofyan Sitompul.
The justices said that Karen's actions were part of a business judgement and not a crime.
“According to the justices, a director’s decision regarding a company activity is inviolable, even if the decision ends up costing the company. It is part of the risk of doing business,” Andi said.
Karen was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment by the Jakarta Corruption Court on June 10, 2019, after being convicted in a case involving Pertamina’s investment in the Basker Manta Gummy (BMG) Block, Australia, in 2009.
The case began in 2009 when Pertamina acquired a 10 percent stake of Roc Oil to work on the BMG Block through its subsidiary, PT Pertamina Hulu Energi (PHE).
Through the acquisition, Pertamina planned for the BMG Block to produce up to 812 barrels of oil per day (bpd). However, the block could only produce an average of 252 bpd, resulting in state financial losses of Rp 568 billion (US$39.7 million).
The judges said that Karen had violated investment procedures, leading to the losses.
The panel of judges said in its verdict that she had colluded with Pertamina's former financial director Ferederick ST Siahaan, former mergers and acquisitions manager Bayu Kristanto and legal and compliance counsel Genades Panjaitan in her acts of corruption.
Karen immediately filed an appeal after her verdict was announced. Previously, the Supreme Court also acquitted ST Siahaan in the case.
Karen was the first woman to lead Pertamina, challenging long-held norms in a male-dominated industry.
One of the few women to have succeeded in breaking the glass ceiling looming over the oil and gas industry, Karen has more than 30 years of experience working in the field. When appointed president director of Pertamina in 2009, she had been working in the industry for 25 years. (gis)