KPK joins high profile graft-case probe at ministry

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Mon, March 03 2014, 10:10 AM

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) announced it was now involved in a high-profile graft case implicating the son of a minister from the ruling Democratic Party.

Activists claimed the case had been stalled by the prosecutor’s office due to government interference.

“We are working hand-in-hand with the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office to solve the case. We are expecting to have a case presentation together in the future,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi said on Sunday, referring to the stage of an investigation when investigators name suspects.

The graft case in question centers on the procurement of jumbotrons for multimedia digital advertisement (Videotron) at the Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry, which is headed by party executive chairman Syariefuddin “Syarief” Hasan.

Syarief’s son, Riefan Avran, owns PT Imaje Media, the company that won the Rp 23 billion (US$1.9 million) project at the ministry in 2012. The company is alleged to be bogus but thanks to the suspected influence of Syarief, it won the state project.

The decision by the KPK to join the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office’s probe came amid mounting calls for the antigraft body to take over the case due to allegations that the prosecutor’s office had bowed to pressure from the
Democratic Party.

When asked about the possibility that the KPK would take over the case, Johan said “currently, we are working together to investigate the case”, future progress would determine how involved the KPK would be.

“The supervision is ongoing and I have not received any details regarding the progress of the case from either the KPK or the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office,” Johan said.

Prosecutors have named three suspects in the case: Hasnawi Bachtiar, an official at the ministry; Kasiyadi, a member of the procurement committee at the ministry; and Hendra Saputra, an office boy at PT Imaje Media, who was listed as company executive director.

An audit conducted by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) on May 3 last year found the project to be marred with irregularities, including the procurement of fictitious items and items that were below standard.

The head of the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office, Adi Toegarisman, said that his office was still investigating Rievan’s role in the case, but “investigators would not name other suspects without strong evidence.”

“Be patient, the investigation is still ongoing,” he said recently.

The Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (FITRA) doubted if the Jakarta Prosecutors’ Office would have the courage to name Rievan a suspect.

The antigraft watchdog also lambasted the prosecutor’s office for failing to summons Syarief, whose testimony it claimed was important for the investigation.

“Even if the prosecutor’s office finally resolved the case, its highest achievement will only be the prosecution of ‘small fish’, leaving the ‘big fish’ untouched because of their political power. The case should be given to the KPK,” said coordinator investigation of FITRA, Uchok Sky Khadafi.

The irregularities came to light after Democratic Party politician I Gede Pasek Suardika, supporter of ousted Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum, called on Syarief to step down from his post as minister to focus on the graft case that had implicated his son.

Pasek, who has been dismissed from his post at the House for being a loyalist of Anas, added that many of his fellow party members were involved in other graft cases.

“In terms of the number involved in the case, it is a lot. There is also the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry case. So, party members should focus on handling these cases,” Pasek said, referring to the ministry headed by another PD senior member Jero Wacik.


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