Two Ban­jar­masin coun­cil­lors ar­rested for al­leged bribery

The Jakarta Post - - NATIONAL - Khar­ishar Kahfi

Cor­rup­tion Erad­i­ca­tion Com­mis­sion (KPK) in­ves­ti­ga­tors have ar­rested more re­gency of­fi­cials over al­leged bribery, rais­ing deeper con­cerns over the in­tegrity of In­done­sia’s re­gional-level lead­er­ship as the ar­rests came only one day af­ter the KPK named Batubara Re­gent OK Arya Zulka­r­nen a graft sus­pect.

The anti­graft body named on Fri­day Golkar Party politi­cian Iwan Rus­mali, speaker of the Ban­jar­masin Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil (DPRD) in South Kal­i­man­tan, and his deputy Andi Ef­fendi from the Na­tional Awak­en­ing Party (PKB) graft sus­pects for al­legedly ac­cept­ing bribes in de­lib­er­at­ing a by­law.

Also on Fri­day, the KPK de­clared Ban­dar­masih wa­ter oper­a­tor (PDAM) pres­i­dent di­rec­tor Mus­lih and its fi­nance di­rec­tor Tren­sis sus­pects for al­legedly of­fer­ing the bribes.

“The kick­backs were meant to en­sure the coun­cil’s ap­proval for a by­law on the Ban­jar­masin city ad­min­is­tra­tion’s cap­i­tal in­jec­tion into PDAM Ban­dar­masih, worth Rp 50 bil­lion [US$3.8 mil­lion],” KPK deputy chair­man Alexan­der Mar­wata an­nounced on Fri­day.

KPK in­ves­ti­ga­tors ar­rested the four sus­pects at sep­a­rate lo­ca­tions in Ban­jar­masin on Thurs­day. Dur­ing the op­er­a­tion, they con­fis­cated Rp 48 mil­lion in cash sus­pected to be what’s left of the il­licit gift pro­vided by PDAM of­fi­cials.

“The promised bribe amounted to Rp 150 mil­lion, which Mus­lih asked from a part­ner com­pany [gen­eral con­trac­tor and sup­plier Chin­dra Santi Pratama] three days be­fore the ar­rest,” Alexan­der said.

KPK in­ves­ti­ga­tors sus­pected that PDAM Ban­dar­masih of­fi­cials had also asked for money from other lo­cal com­pa­nies. A por­tion of the bribes had been trans­ferred to sev­eral other par­ties, Alexan­der added, with­out giv­ing fur­ther de­tails.

Iwan and Andi, who is also head of DPRD Ban­jar­masin’s spe­cial com­mit­tee for the de­lib­er­a­tion of the cap­i­tal in­jec­tion by­law, are sus­pected of ac­cept­ing bribes from provin­cially-owned en­ter­prises (BUMD) re­lated to the de­lib­er­a­tion of sev­eral other by­laws.

“It is still be­ing in­ves­ti­gated,” Alexan­der said.

The ar­rests were made just one day af­ter the KPK de­tained Arya for al­legedly ac­cept­ing Rp 4.4 bil­lion in kick­backs from con­trac­tors of sev­eral re­gency projects. The KPK named him a sus­pect on the same day.

This was the fourth time the KPK caught of­fi­cials red-handed al­legedly tak­ing bribes in the last two weeks. The anti­graft body named Te­gal Mayor Siti Ma­sitha Soeparno and ad hoc Bengkulu Cor­rup­tion Court judge Dewi Suryana as bribery sus­pects on Aug. 30 and Sept. 7, re­spec­tively.

Although many of the KPK’s re­cent ar­rests oc­curred in re­gional and lo­cal lev­els, Alexan­der dis­missed crit­i­cisms that claimed the anti­graft buster had only fo­cused their at­ten­tion on lo­cal cases. He said those ar­rests were made thanks to re­ports from the pub­lic.

“We chose the cases to han­dle first by con­sid­er­ing which have suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence,” he said.

Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional In­done­sia (TII) sec­re­tary-gen­eral Dadang Trisas­ongko de­fended the KPK’s move, call­ing it a bold strat­egy in erad­i­cat­ing cor­rup­tion, which plagues ev­ery level of gov­ern­ment.

“The ar­rests are es­pe­cially im­por­tant lead­ing up to the re­gional elec­tions next year,” Dadang told The Jakarta Post.

“Hope­fully, the KPK can send the mes­sage to all in­cum­bents not to abuse their po­si­tions, and en­cour­age peo­ple to be more care­ful in vot­ing for their lead­ers.”

Ac­tivist Fe­bri Hen­dri from In­done­sia Cor­rup­tion Watch (ICW) said the KPK might also have to watch more closely of­fi­cials of state-owned en­ter­prises and other busi­ness en­ti­ties in­volved in na­tional strate­gic projects.

“A num­ber of in­fra­struc­ture en­ter­prises are granted large amounts of money and projects, which make them more valu­able tar­gets than lo­cal of­fi­cials,” Fe­bri said.

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