Fana Suparman, Jakarta – The Supreme Court has acquitted Karen Agustiawan, the former president director of state-run oil company Pertamina, of graft charges by overturning an earlier district court verdict that saw her guilty of corruption and sentenced her to eight years' imprisonment.
Karen was previously implicated in a graft scandal concerning Pertamina's participating interest in Australia's Basker Manta Gummy oil fields and found guilty in June last year.
"The verdict is an acquittal," Supreme Court spokesman Andi Samsan Nganro told reporters on Monday.
He then used a legal term to imply that the allegations against Karen were proven true in earlier hearings at the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court but that the case ultimately did not constitute a crime so the defendant could not be punished.
The Supreme Court panel in the case comprises justices Abdul Latif, Krisna Harahap, M. Asikin and Sofyan Sitompul.
The panel argued that Pertamina's failure to benefit from a 10 percent participating interest worth $31.5 million in oil fields in the Gippsland Basin in the Australian state of Victoria did not inflict a financial loss to the state.
Karen's lawyer Soesilo Aribowo said he was aware of the acquittal but the defense had not received the official duplicate of the verdict to release his client from the prosecutors' custody.
"I have learned about the verdict but we're still waiting for the official duplicate," Soesilo said.
Karen, who was in charge of the company in 2009-2014 when Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was president, was previously accused of misusing her authority to make the decision to acquire the participating interest in the Australian oil fields without prior feasibility studies or risk analyses.
Pertamina signed a sale and purchase agreement to buy the 10 percent participating interest in the Basker Manta Gummy fields without the consent of the company's board of commissioners and legal division, prosecutors have alleged.
Karen was slapped with corruption charges when it was discovered Pertamina failed to earn financial benefits from the agreement after oil block operator Roc Oil Company halted production in the fields on Aug. 20, 2010.