Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Wed, February 12 2014, 7:33 AM
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has imposed a travel ban on former forestry minister MS Kaban, who now chairs the Muslim-based Crescent Star Party (PBB), in connection with an ongoing corruption investigation.
The agency issued the travel restriction after questioning Kaban’s former driver Muhammad Yusuf as a witness in the graft case centering on the 2007 procurement of an integrated radio communications system (SKRT) at the Forestry Ministry during Kaban’s tenure.
“[Kaban] and Yusuf are banned from traveling overseas for the next 60 days,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi told a press conference at the KPK headquarters on Tuesday.
Johan said his office had yet to fix a time for questioning Kaban but he emphasized that investigators were currently expediting their investigations to uncover others involved in the case.
The investigation into the SKRT graft case was revived recently after the KPK arrested the main suspect in the case, Anggoro Widjojo, in Shenzhen, China, last month.
Anggoro fled the country just before the KPK imposed a travel ban on him in August 2008.
As owner of PT Masaro Radiokom, the company that won the SKRT project, Anggoro allegedly bribed lawmakers and state officials to secure the major project.
The SKRT project was frozen in 2004 by Kaban’s predecessor but it was reinstated in 2007 with a recommendation from the House of Representatives Commission IV overseeing plantations.
Kaban, who was questioned as a witness in the case in 2012, remains at liberty, although previous trial hearings indicated that he may well have been aware of the corruption.
In 2012, Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) urged the KPK to name Kaban a suspect in the case in 2012 for signing off the appointment of Masaro in the project.
The case broke in 2008 when the KPK probed former legislator Yusuf Emir Faisal for reportedly accepting bribes from Anggoro to secure a project bid for the latter’s company, which was finally granted without going to tender.
The case has resulted in the conviction of a number of politicians, including Faisal, who was sentenced to four-and-half years in 2009, as well as former Golkar Party lawmaker Azwar Chesputra, former National Awakening Party (PKB) lawmaker Hilman Indra and former Golkar legislator Fahri Andi Leluasa, all of whom were sent down for four years in 2010.
Two other people were sent to prison in the case, Wandoyo Siswanto, an official at the ministry, who was sentenced to three years and director of PT Masaro Putranevo, A Prayuga, who received six years’ imprisonment.
In the previous trials, the ministry’s former secretary-general Boen Mochtar Purnama admitted that he received US$20,000 from Anggoro after receiving a go-ahead from Kaban.
Kaban has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the case, saying that the decision to name PT Masaro the winner of the project was in accordance with the then current rules.
He did not return calls from The Jakarta Post for comments on Tuesday.
Anggoro’s case made headlines in 2009 after his brother, Anggodo Widjojo, triggered a conflict between the National Police and the KPK.
Anggodo accused former KPK leaders Bibit Samad Riyanto and Chandra M. Hamzah of taking bribes in connection with the KPK’s probe into his brother’s case.
The National Police later charged Bibit and Chandra with extortion and abuse of power.
The move triggered public outcry with the public largely siding with the KPK and believing that the two were being framed by Anggodo and officials from the National Police and the Attorney General’s Office (AGO).
Anggodo was convicted of attempted bribery in 2010 and sentenced to four years in prison.