A major corruption scandal involving nickel ore mining has come to light as the Southeast Sulawesi Prosecutor’s Office names and detains two prominent suspects. The case centers around alleged irregularities in PT Antam’s mining business permit for the Mandiodo block in North Konawe, Southeast Sulawesi.
The individuals in question are Ridwan Djamaludin, a former Director General of Mineral and Coal at the Energy and Mineral Resource Ministry, and HJ, identified as a sub-coordinator of the Work and Budget Plan at the same ministry.
According to Ketut Sumediana, the Spokesman of the Attorney General’s Office, Djamaludin’s role in the case involved a pivotal meeting held on December 14, 2021. During this session, discussions were held to simplify the assessment aspect of the work and budget plan for mining companies, as regulated by the Energy and Mineral Resource Ministry’s regulation number 1806K/30/MEM/2018 issued on April 30, 2018.
The ramifications of this alleged irregularity led to PT Kabaena Kromit Pratama, a mining company with depleted nickel deposits, securing a significant nickel ore mining quota for 1.5 million tons in 2022. Several other companies around the Mandiodo block also benefited from this scenario.
Furthermore, it was revealed that the work and budget plan was allegedly sold or used by PT Kabaena Kromit Pratama and other entities to legalize Nickel Ore mining in the concession of PT Antam Tbk. This concession lacked a proper work and budget plan. A similar situation occurred with PT Antam Tbk.’s concession managed by PT Lawu Agung Mining, based on operational cooperation with government entities.
The investigation has also unveiled the role of HJ in the issuance of work plans and budgets. HJ, along with SW and YB, allegedly processed petitions for PT Kabaena Kromit Pratama and other companies around the Mandiodo block without adhering to the assessment aspect specified by Energy and Mineral Resource Decree Number 1806 K/30/MEM/2018 on April 30, 2018. Instead, they reportedly followed the order of Ridwan Djamaludin based on the limited meeting held on December 14.
As the investigation unfolds, the Southeast Sulawesi Prosecutor’s Office has now identified a total of 10 suspects, including officials from PT Antam Tbk., PT Lawu Agung Mining, PT Kabaena Kromit Pratama, and various officials within the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resource. The ongoing investigation is currently in the development phase, aiming to bring clarity to the alleged corruption scandal.
To facilitate the investigative process, Ridwan Djamaludin and HJ have been detained in Salemba Prison for a duration of 20 days, from August 9 to August 28, 2023. As the legal proceedings continue, the nation watches closely for further revelations in this complex and far-reaching case.