Pertamina, Gold Manor suspects barred from travel

Indonesia's National Police have announced an immediate travel ban on four members of state-owned Pertamina and a director of Gold Manor International.

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 24 -- Indonesia's National Police, following recent allegations of corruption in the purchase of imported oil, have announced an immediate travel ban on four members of state-owned PT Pertamina and a director of PT Gold Manor International.

The five are under investigation after allegations that they profited from the procurement of Zatapi crude oil last year in violation of the country's anticorruption law, according to National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Abubakar Nataprawira.

"They also have been named as suspects in this case, but we have yet to arrest them," said Abubakar, who declined to name the suspects. "We will determine their further status after we complete our investigations," he said.

Abubakar said the State Development Finance Comptroller is calculating the total amount of financial loss to the Indonesian state.

Singapore-based oil importer Gold Manor won a Pertamina-sponsored tender to supply 600,000 bbl of Zatapi crude oil to Indonesia last December and began shipping it to a Pertamina refinery in Cilacap, Central Java, in February, 2008.

Legislators of House Commission VII overseeing energy and mineral resources later revealed that Gold Manor's tender bid was incomplete since it did not include a detailed breakdown of the contents of Zatapi oil.

The Attorney General's Office began investigating the case on Mar. 2. Last month, police named four Pertamina staff members, including a vice-president and a former director, as suspects in the case.

Pertamina Pres. Director Ari Soemarno denied any irregularities in the Zatapi imports, saying they did not cause any losses.

"In fact, Pertamina benefits from Zatapi's lower prices. We saved $5.50 for each barrel of Zatapi oil we imported. Thus, in total, we have saved $3 million from 600,000 bbl of Zatapi oil," Ari said.

However, the House of Representatives inquiry committee, which was set up recently to study the management of oil and gas in Indonesia, said the case is just "the tip of the iceberg" in dealing with Pertamina (OGJ Online, Oct. 20, 2008).

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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