08/16/2013, 00.00
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Indonesians shocked by oil corruption scandal

by Mathias Hariyadi
Rudi Rubiandini, head of the SKK Migas special commission, pocketed nearly a million dollars in U.S. and Singapore currency. He is a popular lecturer and close to President Yudhoyono. Highest profile" case for anti-corruption commission, both for the personality and amount of money involved.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A new corruption scandal has hit a high ranking political, institutional and financial Indonesian official: Rudi Rubiandini, head of the special commission of control over the Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Company, better known as SKK Migas. The Department Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) - caught him on the night of 13 August, while pocketing a substantial bribe (U.S. and Singapore dollars for a sum of not less than one million) from a representative of a foreign oil company. The transfer of money took place in the official's home, situated in one of the most expensive suburbs of South Jakarta.

Indonesian public is shocked by this latest corruption scandal, both by the amount involved as well as the high profile figure. Rudi Rubiandini, was known as an incorruptible associate professor in energy materials at the 'Institute of Technology in Bandung (ITB). He was also deputy minister for gas and oil in the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

He left the ministerial office in January 2013, to guide the newly formed SKK Migas commission. Many people wonder how it is possible that such a qualified and apparently intact personality, could have pocketed so high a sum to become -  in the opinion of the Anti-Corruption Commission - "the most high-profile case of" ever discovered in Indonesia.

Moreover, the story casts a shadow over the executive of President Yudhoyono and the many pro-government agencies established in recent years to guide the political and institutional destinies of the country. Under interrogation Rudi Rubiandini admitted that he had received the sum of money and other valuables, including a high-powered BMW motorcycle, but rejected the accusation of "corruption."

In a surprise judgment, in November 2012, the Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi, Mk) decreed the dissolution of the Upstream Oil and Gas Regulator Company, better known coma BP Migas, because it was "anti-constitutional" and "contrary" to the principles enshrined in the 1945 Charter. For many, the Indonesian state-owned company has caused serious financial losses because of its "selling out" of national treasures - oil and gas - to foreign companies  rather than promoting the local industry giant Pertamina. Allegations that, after a few months, also involved the Migas, commission established by the government to monitor the energy business.


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