Indonesia's former finance minister summoned for questioning

Indonesia's former finance minister summoned for questioning
Sri Mulyani Indrawati, managing director and chief operating officer of the World Bank speaks during the Singapore Summit in Singapore on September 20, 2014.

The National Police have summoned former finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati for questioning in relation to the PT Trans Pacific Petrochemical Indotama (TPPI) graft case, after several witnesses accused her of approving a 2009 deal between the firm and BP Migas, an earlier version of the current Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Task Force (SKKMigas).

The police's detective division chief, Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso, claimed testimony from her was vital for the investigation.

"Of course we need her testimony as a witness. Since she is currently residing in the US, we have sent a summons letter through the US Embassy," he told reporters on Tuesday in Jakarta.

Sri Mulyani stepped down as finance minister in 2010 after she and then-vice president Boediono were accused of abusing their power in connection to the 2008 Bank Century bailout.

She is currently the managing director of the World Bank.

Budi explained that investigators wanted to question Sri Mulyani about several documents in relation to the deal between TPPI and BP Migas that she signed during her tenure as finance minister.

"We hope she will be cooperative. If she cannot [return to Indonesia] then we will question her there [in the US]. We cannot just jump to conclusions as law enforcement needs honesty and justice," he said.

According to police investigators, TPPI collaborated with BP Migas to market condensate in Indonesia. However, the firm never paid profits from sales to the government. Despite the suspected foul play, BP Migas extended its contract with the firm.

National Police special economic crimes director Brig. Gen. Victor E. Simanjuntak said Sri Mulyani had been summoned for questioning this Friday.

"Based on several witnesses and evidence gathered, she signed a letter of approval on the payment method between TPPI and SKKMigas [BP Migas] before a contract was finalized. We want to ask her the contents of the letter and whether or not a contract had already existed at that time," he said separately.

Victor explained that TPPI had already lifted condensate more than 10 times before the contract was finalized in April 2010, after which BP Migas continued supplying condensate to the firm. The deal led to Rp 2 trillion (S$202 million) in state losses.

"We will check [with Sri Mulyani] because the Finance Ministry would have received the profits [from TPPI]. We will check who was responsible for receiving it as it is unlikely that the minister was directly responsible for it," he said.

Previously, the current chief of SKKMigas, Amien Sunaryadi, accused Sri Mulyani of having ordered BP Migas to appoint TPPI to sell the condensate.

Amien, a former commissioner at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), said that the Finance Ministry had the final say regarding the deal with TPPI as the former kept the proceeds from condensate sales.

So far the police have named three people - only identified as RP, DH and HW - as suspects in the case for allegedly violating articles 2 and 3 of the 2001 Corruption Law for abuse of power and Article 3 of the 2003 Money Laundering Law.

Separately, Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) budget monitoring programme manager Firdaus Ilyas said it was crucial to question Sri Mulyani to further the police investigation.

"From what ICW has observed, this case probably involves many stakeholders from the government and also state-owned enterprises, so it is no surprise that she [Sri Mulyani] has been summoned as a witness. If the allegations of graft are true then it is the police's duty to question her, at least to see who was responsible for committing the crime," he said.

Firdaus also said investigators should ask Sri Mulyani why she approved the deal between TPPI and BP Migas if it was already publicly known that the former had been in deep financial trouble since 2009.

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