Airin under pressure over ownership of ‘illicit’ assets

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Wed, February 05 2014, 9:03 AM

As the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) sized more of Tubagus Chaeri “Wawan” Wardana’s assets, pressure has mounted for his wife, South Tangerang Mayor Airin Rachmi Diany to resign from her post.

In recent days, posters and flyers demanding Airin step down have begun to circulate in South Tangerang.

On Monday, a group styling itself the Banten Crisis Center (BCC) staged a rally in front of the KPK headquarters in South Jakarta, demanding Airin give up her post if she was named a suspect in a graft case.

“The KPK doesn’t have to wait any longer to detain Airin as soon as she is named a suspect, just lock her up,” Ichya Halimudin of the BCC said in a statement.

Airin, who was visiting her husband at the KPK detention center on Monday, appeared to be in some distress. Emerging from her husband’s cell, Airin broke down in tears and covered her face with a tissue that she also used to wipe away her tears.

Airin has also come in for criticism for making frequent visits to Wawan during office hours on Mondays and Thursdays, leading to allegations that she is neglecting her duties as mayor.

Wawan’s lawyer, Pia Akbar Nasution said that Airin’s tears reflected deep personal anguish. “They have personal problems,” Pia said, adding that neither Wawan nor Airin had commented on Monday’s visit.

The KPK has detained Wawan and his sister Banten Governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah for allegedly bribing former Constitutional Court chief justice Akil Mochtar, in return for a favorable ruling in a local election dispute in Lebak regency.

The siblings were also named suspects in two separate graft cases involving the procurement of medical equipment for the South Tangerang and Banten administrations. Later, the KPK charged Wawan with money laundering.

On Tuesday, the KPK seized more cars belonging to Wawan. “The alleged illicit assets, comprising three Toyota Kijang Innovas, one Mitsubishi Pajero and one Honda CRV, were confiscated on Monday from construction company PT BPP’s [Bali Pacific Pragama] office located in Kuningan, South Jakarta,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi said on Tuesday.

Last week, the KPK confiscated 17 cars, including Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bentley and Rolls Royce luxury models, and documents that provided information on other potentially illicit assets, after raiding seven locations including Airin’s official residence in South Tangerang.

It has been speculated that it is only a matter of time before the KPK names Airin a suspect, given her position as a decision-maker in the municipality.

The KPK has not confirmed whether their investigation is aimed at identifying the beneficial owners of the “illicit” assets, including Airin.

“That’s a good question, but today we’ve only made an announcement about the confiscated assets. However, any recipients [of the assets] will also be charged under the Money Laundering Law,” KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto said.


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