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Arrest of oil regulator seen as blow to Indonesia's anti-corruption drive

JAKARTA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- The recent arrest of Rudi Rubiandini, head of Indonesia's oil and gas production regulatory agency SKK Migas, was seen as apparently major blow to the government's anti-corruption drive as the agency was established to eliminate corruption in its predecessor BP Migas.

Rudi, who assumed the post eight months ago, was arrested by Indonesian government anti-corruption task force of KPK on Tuesday night with 400,000 U.S dollars of alleged bribe cash seized at his residence.

Rudi was arrested when the people from a Singapore-based oil company gave the bribes to him. The money delivered to Rudi was allegedly related to the upcoming tenders for oil projects set to be held by SKK Migas.

According to KPK spokesperson Johan Budi, Rudi totally received bribery of 700,000 U.S. dollars including 300,000 U.S. dollars delivered sometime in July.

KPK officers confiscated more than 300,000 U.S. dollars from his safe deposit box in one of the country's prominent banks and bar gold in his office on Thursday.

Rudi, a scholar at a state-run prominent technical college in Bandung, West Java, served as special consultant to BP Migas and was eventually appointed as Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources before being named to lead SKK Migas.

Indonesian President Susilo bambang Yudboyono quickly removed Rudi from his post that was initially created to boost oil and gas production in the country.

Experts said that Rudi has failed to address concerns over rampant corruption in BP Migas, that was replaced by the agency he led. Investigation against Rudi is underway.

"This case will disrupt investment," Industry Minister MS Hidayat said on Wednesday, responding to the arrest which was the largest one by KPK in terms of sum of bribe.

Indonesia has seen high profile corruption cases involving former and current senior officials, politicians and high-ranking police officers in recent years amid government's intensive effort to eradicate corruption in the country. Legal proceedings against those involved in the scams are underway.

On September 2008, the anti-corruption court (Tipikor) sentenced Urip Tri Gunawan, a prosecutor at attorney general office who received more than 600,000 U.S. dollars bribe, to 20 years in jail, the highest sentence for corruption convict in Indonesia.

The rampant corruption helped the largest economy in Southeast Asian region earn score of 3 in the Corruption Perception Index compiled by the international anti-graft agency Transparency International (TI) last year. It ranks Indonesia at the 100th among 183 countries and regions surveyed by TI.

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