TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Back in his first year as Governor of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), Muhammad Zainul Majdi alias Tuan Guru Bajang established Daerah Maju Bersaing to purchase stock from the divestment of Newmont Nusa Tenggara. That regional company worked with Multi Capital, a company from the Bakrie Group, to purchase 24 percent of Newmont’s stock. Seven years later, during his second term in office, Zainul sold the stock due to ongoing company losses. Now, at the end of his second term, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is looking to the process of the divestment and sale of Newmont stock. In addition to suspected that this process resulted in state losses, the KPK has said there are indications that some funds related to the Newmont stock divestment flowed to some bank accounts of that owner of the Darunnahdlatain Nahdlatul Wathan Islamic Boarding School in NTB and his wives.
Speaking to Anton Aprianto, Rusman Paraqbueq, and Linda Trianita from Tempo on Friday last week at Hotel Ayana Midplaza, Jakarta, this General Chairman of the Nahdlatul Wathan Executive Committee gave a detailed explanation about the divestment and resale of Newmont stock, as well as the accusation of funds flowing to his bank accounts.
The KPK is investigating suspected corruption and money laundering from the divestment and resale of the regional government’s stock in Newmont. How many times have you been questioned by the KPK about this?
Once. At that time there were 40 or so regional government official. In addition to myself, there were regents, leaders of the Regional Legislative Council (DPRD), and some parties who were considered to have information about the divestment and sale of regional government stock in Newmont.
We heard they asked you about suspected state losses from the divestment and sale of Newmont stock. What did you tell them?
I explained everything. The Province of NTB, the Regency of Sumbawa, and the Regency of West Sumbawa shared in putting up Rp500 million to establish a company. With that capital, these three regions received tangible benefits up to the time it was sold for about US$127 million. So where are the losses?
The Indonesia Corruption Watch reported to the KPK that some dividends were never paid after the Newmont stock divestment.
Our partner company (Multi Capital) used debt to purchase the stock, and we had agreed that the initial dividend would be used to pay the debt. However, we continued to receive dividends, albeit late. Overall, the regional rights have been fulfilled. It came to that US$127 million.
Can you explain where that US$127 million figure comes from?
Newmont did not pay out dividends every year, just in 2011. However, there is a clause on advance dividends. When Newmont pays out dividends, we receive US$4 million. The idea is that each year there must be income for the regional cash account. The total figure for that comes to US$127 million.
Read the full interview in this week's edition of Tempo English Magazine