Chevron workers jailed in clean-up case

Chevron_Logo19 July 2013, News Wires – Two employees of Chevron’s Indonesian subsidiary have been jailed this week over the company’s allegedly bogus environmental bioremediation programme.

The Chevron Pacific Indonesia workers were both sentenced to serve two years in jail for their role in what prosecutors argued was a fake project and had caused losses to the state.

Agence France-Presse, AFP, reported that Indonesia’s anti-corruption court sentenced manager Endah Rumbiyanti for “failing to carry out her obligations”, a lapse which it said unfairly benefited two contractors.

Her sentencing on Thursday came the day after another manager, Kukuh Kertasafari, was sentenced for poor oversight of the project, according to AFP.

Defence lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis told the news agency after the Kertasafari’s verdict on Wednesday that they would appeal to a higher anti-corruption court and international arbitration was an option.

He also said that the clean-up project was part of a production-sharing contract with the government, under which breaches should not be treated criminally and should be settled out of court.

AFP quoted another another lawyer for Chevron, Maqdir Ismail, as saying Thursday’s decision “defies logic” and the trial was intended “to punish, not to find justice”.

The case centres around an allegedly fraudulent environmental programme at the Duri oilfields that employed local contractors Green Planet Indonesia and Sumigita Jaya.

The two companies had been contracted to perform a soil bioremediation programme at the oilfields, in Riau province in Sumatra, from 2003 to 2011.

Bioremediation is a method in which metabolic micro-organisms are used to remove pollutants for environmental conservation.

Prosecutors argued that the two Indonesian companies which were contracted to carry out the clean-up had no qualifications or permits.

The court had already found them guilty of graft and both companies had directors who were jailed and fined.

Prosecutors also claim the land was never contaminated and the project had cost the state millions of dollars.

Chevron and Indonesian regulator SKK Migas have previously stated that all costs involved in the project — about $9.7 million — were borne by the operator, meaning the state did not suffer any losses.

Two other Chevron employees are still awaiting verdicts, with one of them expected Friday, according to AFP.

– Upstream

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