Monday, March 29, 2010

Indonesia probes corruption at state coal miner

Indonesian prosecutors have reportedly secured evidence indicating misappropriations in a $33 million (IDR 300 million) tender for shipment, loading and uploading services of its coal at the Tarahan Port (Lampung province) of state-owned coal mining firm PT Tambang Batubara Bukit Asam.

“We also have searched the office at Muara Enim [South Sumatra] and seized [documents]. We have questioned only a few witnesses and we are still unable to identify a suspect,” said Arminshyam, director of corruption investigations at the Attorney General’s Office

“The contract was valued at more than Rp 300 billion, but from what I’ve learned so far, the company has paid only Rp 9 billion. We are still examining if the subcontractor was really qualified for the project,” he said as quoted by The Jakarta Globe.

The tender, according to non-governmental group the Indonesian Anti-Corruption Society (Maki) was held behind closed doors and in violation of regulations stipulating that a project tender worth more than Rp 100 million should be held in public if it is sponsored by a state-owned enterprise.

The NGO claims the winning bidder in the project was actually appointed and never participated in a competitive tender and said that the floating crane that was rented for the project had been proven to be a waste of money because it could not operate.

UPDATE: Around 1,200 Bukit Asam workers staged a rally today at the Muara Enim regency assembly building in South Sumatra, urging the company to reopen its subsidiary PT Batu Bara Bukit Kendi. The National Police revoked Batu Bara’s operating license for violating mining permits and workers are concerned about their jobs if the mine remains closed.

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