Minister Files Complaint Against Legislator in Alleged Shakedown of Freeport

An instructor supervises workers at the Freeport Indonesia training center in this file photo. ( JG Photo/Jurnasyanto Sukarno)

By : Rangga Prakoso & Hotman Siregar | on 4:18 PM November 16, 2015
Category : News, Featured, Corruption

Jakarta. Indonesia’s energy minister has lodged a complaint with the House of Representatives’ Ethics Council alleging extortion by a legislator against the miner Freeport Indonesia.

Junimart Girsang, a deputy chairman of the council, confirmed on Monday that Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman Said had filed the complaint, including submitting wiretapped phone conversations purportedly showing the legislator demanding a 20 percent stake in Freeport Indonesia, the country’s single-biggest taxpayer.

Neither the minister nor the House would reveal the identity of the legislator in question, although there has been speculation that it is a senior member of the Golkar Party. The Jakarta Globe has not been able to verify this.

“We received concrete evidence in the form of a recorded conversation for us to examine,” Junimart said. He added Sudirman had said “there are several people in the conversation including a very prominent Indonesian businessman. [Sudirman] said he is willing to provide testimony [against the legislator] at any time.”

Sudirman, in his complaint, alleges that the legislator approached officials from Freeport Indonesia on the pretext of representing President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla. The miner’s parent company, Arizona-based Freeport-McMoRan, is required to divest its current 90.64 percent holding in Freeport Indonesia to 70 percent. Sudirman alleges that the legislator demanded that some of those shares be divested through him.

The legislator allegedly “requested 11 to 9 percent, saying he would give [11 percent] to the president and 9 percent to the vice president,” the minister said.

Sudirman said neither Joko nor Kalla were aware of the attempted shakedown, which reportedly took place over the course of three meetings between the legislator and Freeport Indonesia executives from June.

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