Blackgold Natural Resources CEO, CIO called as witnesses in Riau-1 probe

Indonesian rupiah notesIndonesian rupiah notes

Blackgold Natural Resources said late on Sunday that three employees, including the CEO, have been called by Indonesian authorities as witnesses in the investigation of bribery allegations related to the Riau-1 project.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, the company has consulted legal counsels and wishes to clarify that based on Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 8 Year 1981 regarding The Law of Criminal Procedure, a witness is a party believed of knowing a criminal act done by a suspect, but is not suspected of committing a crime,” Blackgold Natural Resources said.

Indonesian authorities have been investigating allegations of 4.8 billion Indonesian rupiah (around S$445,178) worth of bribes given to Eni Maulani Saragih, a member of the Indonesian House of Representatives by businessman and Blackgold shareholder Johannes Budisutrisno Kotjo to expedite signing the Riau-1 project contract.

The Jakarta Post has reported that Eni has repeatedly spoken of channeling the money to her political party, although the party chairman has denied those allegations. Shenton Wire was unable to contact Johannes for comment.

The Riau-1 project was for a coal-fired power plant in Riau province, Sumatra, Indonesia, which was to be developed as a consortium, the company has said.

Blackgold Natural Resources has previously noted that Kotjo worked for it as a consultant on the Riau-1 project, assisting with negotiations and providing strategic advice, including on identifying potential investors. It said Kotjo only worked on the Riau-1 project and ceased being a consultant in June.

The filing to SGX late on Sunday named three group executives who had been called as witnesses by the KPK:

Philip Cecil Rickard, executive chairman and CEO, was interviewed by the Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK), or Corruption Eradication Commission, on 31 July, 3 September and 7 September, it said.

James Rijanto, chief investment officer and executive director, was interviewed by the KPK on 7 September, it said.

Rudy Herlambang, president director of subsidiary PT Samantaka Batubara, was interviewed on 30 July and 8 August, it said.

Blackgold Natural Resources said it would “extend its fullest cooperation to the KPK,” and that it had handed over relevant information and documents requested by the authorities.

“The board wishes to emphasize that business and operations of the group are unaffected by the ongoing investigation and will continue as normal,” it added.

In a separate filing late on Sunday, Blackgold Natural Reources said that the heads of agreement for the Riau-1 project had expired on 14 September as the agreement to establish a joint venture wasn’t executed within one year. It added that consequently, the letter of intent for the project, awarded to the consortium on 23 January 2018 will not longer be valid.

“Following the lapse of the HOA, the company does not expect to be expending further resources (financial or otherwise) on the Riau-1 project. Nonetheless, the company remains keen on the project and will await PLN’s decision on whether to proceed,” it said.

PLN is an Indonesian government-owned company with an electricity distribution monopoly.

Get the Shenton Wire morning briefing in your inbox