Anas throws more dirt, opens pandora’s box

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Thu, February 06 2014, 7:52 AM

Back for more: Former Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum arrives at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) headquarters in Jakarta on Wednesday. The antigraft body questioned Anas as suspect in the Hambalang sports complex graft. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Ousted Democratic Party (PD)chairman Anas Urbaningrum ramped up his attacks against current party chief President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Speaking through his lawyer Firman Wijaya, Anas — who was questioned by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Wednesday as a suspect in the Hambalang sports complex graft — said Yudhoyono had once instructed him to “safeguard” the Bank Century bailout discussions at the House of Representatives, while he was chairman of the party in the House.

The order to “safeguard” was interpreted by Anas as a damage control command to prevent other members of the ruling party from being implicated in the case.

The Bank Century bailout, which was subsequently deemed illegal by the House, was believed to be part of a clandestine scheme to channel government funds to help finance the Democratic Party’s legislative election and Yudhoyono’s reelection bid in 2009.

“During today’s questioning, Anas told the KPK investigators about the ‘special task’ assigned to him when he was party faction chairman at the House. I think the current investigation will bring wider consequences,” Firman said at the KPK headquarters on Wednesday.

In Wednesday’s questioning, KPK investigators pressed Anas on the funds allegedly flowed from the Hambalang project to the fund the party’s 2010 congress in Bandung, West Java, during which Anas was elected chairman.

“At first Anas was questioned in his capacity as a party chairman candidate during the congress, but the investigation developed into unearthing information on the ‘special task’ assigned to Anas,” Firman said.

Firman further said that Anas’ legal team would soon present “surprising facts” to the KPK to help investigators expedite the investigation.

“It’s just a matter of time, just wait and see. It may be a photo or something,” he said.

Another of Anas’ lawyers, Handika Honggowongso, said recently that Anas was once briefed directly by Yudhoyono to carry out a “special task”.

“Anas must make sure that the scandal does not blown up because the allegations could have a huge impact on Yudhoyono’s administration, considering that an inquiry committee has been established [to look into the irregularities in the bailout],” Handika said on Jan. 26.

Responding to the claim, KPK spokesman Johan Budi said that Anas could still have more information on other people involved in the Hambalang sports complex, or any other graft cases for that matter.

“Investigators will record Anas’ testimony in his dossier and the investigators will follow up what Anas had said as long as there is enough evidence,” Johan said.

According to audits by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK), the state lost Rp 463.66 billion (US$38 million) in the Hambalang project, while the Century bailout scandal resulted in Rp 7.4 trillion in state losses.

In recent months calls have mounted for the KPK to summon Yudhoyono’s youngest son Edhie “Ibas” Baskoro, given his position on the steering committee for the congress.

“Mas Ibas was the head of the steering committee. If the KPK wants to know about the congress, Ibas should be questioned,” Anas said last week, adding that Ibas was also a member of Andi Mallarangeng’s campaign team in the congress. Andi, who was also a suspect in the case, lost to Anas in the congress.

Soon after his arrest by the KPK, Anas made a thinly-veiled attack on Yudhoyono by thanking him for his detention. Prior to his arrest Anas said that his fight had only just begun and that he would soon usher in a new chapter in the saga.


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