Indonesia Energy Minister installs new senior officials

Indonesia's Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, coinciding with a wider government investigation of corruption, is expected to install several new senior officials at his ministry.

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, July 21 -- Indonesia's Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, coinciding with a wider government investigation of corruption, is expected to install several new senior officials at his ministry.

"Eight officials will be replaced during the upcoming reorganization," said Purnomo, who has received intense criticism from lawmakers and analysts for his performance in managing the country's energy and mining industries.

In particular, his ministry has been criticized amid worsening energy problems faced by the country, such as declining crude oil production and electricity supply shortfalls that have caused frequent blackouts across the country.

Purnomo said earlier last week the planned reshuffle, likely to have occurred July 18, will "strengthen the organization."

Purnomo is expected to replace the oil and gas director Luluk Sumiarso with Evita Legowo, currently employed as an expert at the ministry. Sumiarso will be named as the head of the National Energy Board, which is being established to draft energy policies.

Bambang Setiawan will replace Simon Sembiring, who is retiring as director general of mineral resources, coal, and geothermal.

Purnomo's announcement coincided with reports that the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and Upstream Oil and Gas Supervisory Agency BPMigas are creating a team to evaluate the monitoring mechanisms in the upstream oil and gas industry.

Formation of the team follows allegations brought by Indonesia Corruption Watch, which said there had been miscalculations of oil revenues in 2000-08, possibly creating losses to the state of some 194 trillion rupiah ($21.2 million).

The KPK is reported to have arrested many government and political officials for graft or corruption in 2008, but this is the first recent move towards the country's oil and gas industry.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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