Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Fri, March 21 2014, 9:43 AM
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) announced on Thursday that it had taken over the investigation of a graft case implicating former health minister Siti Fadilah Supari from the National Police.
The National Police have accused Siti of abusing her budgetary power during her 2004-2009 tenure as minister in a botched Health Ministry medical equipment procurement in 2005 worth Rp 15.5 billion (US$1.3 million).
“The takeover is already official and the KPK will issue a sprindik [letter ordering the start of an investigation] for Siti,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi told reporters on Thursday night.
Johan said the KPK did not need a permit from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to question Siti as a suspect in the case, though she currently was serving on the Presidential Advisory Council (Wantimpres).
Johan refused to comment on speculation that the KPK took over the case because the National Police were moving sluggishly due to Siti being a member of Wantimpres.
“The KPK and the National Police agreed to hand over the case to the KPK,” Johan said.
Siti was named a suspect by the National Police on March 28, 2012, and since then many have charged that no progress has been made by the police. The case resulted in Rp 6.1 billion in state losses.
In 2012, the KPK questioned Siti several times in relation to another corruption case at the ministry implicating former director general of medical services Ratna Dewi Umar, who was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison.
The KPK emphasized that it was still investigating the case implicating Ratna and was looking into whether Siti also played a role. That case also involved a mishandled medical equipment procurement, worth Rp 40 billion in 2007. The incident cost the state Rp 6.8 billion.
Previously, Ratna had said she was instructed by Siti to directly offer the tender for the procurement to a company belonging to Rudijanto Tanoesoedibjo, the brother of media mogul and vice presidential hopeful for the Hanura Party Hary Tanoesoedibjo.
Siti has repeatedly denied allegations she was connected to Ratna’s case, saying she had no knowledge of foul play in the project and could not monitor the “thousands of procurement projects” at the ministry.
Last year in September, the KPK said Siti and Rudijanto could be named suspects in the case if KPK investigators found compelling evidence implicating them.