Suspects in haj fund graft case to be announced soon: KPK

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Thu, March 20 2014, 9:06 AM

The Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) investigation into alleged irregularities in the haj pilgrimage program at the Religious Affairs Ministry found sufficient evidence to name suspects, KPK chairman Abraham Samad confirmed on Wednesday.

“Our investigation has found strong evidence that implicates the suspects,” Abraham said at KPK headquarters on Wednesday, refusing to name the possible suspects.

He said that the KPK had to question a number of witnesses to strengthen its case before naming the suspects.

“The KPK hopes that individuals we summons give us additional information. In the near future, we will announce the suspects,” Abraham said.

He said that KPK leaders and investigators on Friday would hold an internal case presentation to determine when the suspects would be announced.

On Wednesday, the KPK questioned the ministry’s director general for the haj and umrah (minor haj) Anggito Abimanyu as a witness in the case.

Arriving at KPK headquarters, Anggito, who was the former head of the Fiscal Policy Agency at the Finance Ministry, brought along haj pilgrimage program financial reports to be submitted to KPK investigators.

After the questioning, Anggito only said, “the haj pilgrimage fund is used to pay for all haj pilgrimage program activities.”

Earlier in January, the KPK announced that it would focus its investigation on the procurement of goods and services in the haj pilgrimage program during the 2012-2013 period.

KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto emphasized that the antigraft body had also investigated the management of the haj pilgrimage fund during the 2012-2013 period and the giving of facilities to go on haj to individuals who were not permitted to according to existing regulations.

It is alleged that a number of families and relatives of lawmakers and high-ranking officials at the ministry illegally enjoyed facilities from the haj fund.

Each pilgrim is required to pay a deposit of Rp 25 million to be placed on a waiting list for the pilgrimage. Those payments are stored and managed by the ministry. Currently, there are nearly 2 million people on the waiting list. Last year, around 168,800 people went to Mecca for the haj.

In January 2013, the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) published a report indicating that over the last eight years, there were extensive irregularities in the fund holding the deposits of prospective pilgrims.

Data from the PPATK showed that the ministry had managed Rp 80 trillion in haj funds with Rp 2.3 trillion in interest from 2004-2012.

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