KPK to forcibly bring Anas in for questioning

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Wed, January 08 2014, 8:14 AM

Former Democratic Party (PD) chairman Anas Urbaningrum, who has been named a suspect in the Hambalang graft case, failed to answer a Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) summons for the second time on Tuesday.

Anas’ lawyer, Firman Wijaya, said his client believed the summons was unclear. “Anas is always ready to come to the KPK, but the phrase in the summons letter saying he will be questioned in relation to ‘other projects’ is speculative and unclear. We demand that the KPK get rid of the phrase first,” Firman told reporters at KPK headquarters on Tuesday.

Anas was first summonsed as a suspect on July 31 last year. He was accused of accepting money from a company that won the tender for the construction of a sports complex in Hambalang, West Java.

Firman said it was peculiar for the KPK to say that Anas was involved in corruption in “other projects” without elaborating. “It is clear that Anas’ status as a suspect is doubtful. But he respects the legal process [including his possible detention]. Justice should be put above everything,” Firman said on Friday.

Another of Anas’ lawyers, Indra Nathan Kusnadi, said he had sent a letter to the KPK requesting an explanation of the phrase on Aug. 14, 2013 but he had not yet received a reply.

“When the second summons came, I also sent the same request to the KPK to explain what the phrase ‘other projects’ means. We are waiting for the KPK’s reply first, then we will talk about whether Anas should come or not,” he said.

Anas’ no-show angered KPK chairman Abraham Samad, who said that he would instruct investigators to bring in Anas by force if he failed to meet the third summons. “For sure I will issue a summons to him [again]. Mark my words, I am warning Anas that, should he fail to meet another summons, I will instruct investigators to bring him in with force.”

KPK spokesman Johan Budi said that Anas’ lawyers had met with investigators of the Hambalang case on Tuesday at KPK headquarters to talk about their complaints regarding the phrase. “I do not know the content of their conversation, but they did meet today,” Johan said on Tuesday.

Ma’mun Murod, the spokesman of the Indonesian Movement Association (PPI), which was established by Anas, said that KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto visited Cikeas on Monday, referring to PD chairman President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s private residence in West Java.

“The information we received is that Bambang visited Cikeas at 2 p.m. with Deputy Law and Human Rights Minister [Denny Indrayana],” Ma’mun said, adding that, “there is a dirty war in the legal process of implicating Anas”. He said that it was peculiar for the KPK deputy chief to pay a visit to Cikeas prior to the questioning on Tuesday.

Responding to the accusation, Bambang alleged that it was slander and an attempt to politicize Anas’ case and hamper the Hambalang probe.


Rudi admits he, and others, took bribes

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Wed, January 08 2014, 10:04 AM

Rudi Rubiandini: (JP)

Former Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Task Force (SKKMigas) chief Rudi Rubiandini admitted on Tuesday to receiving kickbacks as he could not resist the ever-larger sums funneled by businesses, legislators and colleagues at the agency.

After the first hearing of his trial at the Jakarta Corruption Court, Rudi said there were demands from the agency’s “stakeholders” for money in exchange for the smooth operation of the agency.

“It’s true that I accepted bribes,” said Rudi. “But that was after I strongly tried to resist it for five months from January to May [2013]. However, pressures from the stakeholders, coupled with the enormous offers finally forced me to resort to it.”

According to the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) prosecutors, Rudi also allegedly received money from his underlings.

Former SKKMigas deputy chief Yohanes Widjanarko, now the agency’s chief, was accused of giving Rudi US$600,000 while other top officials Gerhard Rumeser and Iwan Rahman allegedly handed over $350,000 and $50,000, respectively.

“The money from Gerhard was given [by Rudi] to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry secretary-general Waryono Karno,” prosecutor Riyono said.

During a raid at Waryono’s office in August, the KPK confiscated $200,000. Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik, a senior Democratic Party politician, has repeatedly denied allegations that the money was intended for him.

Prosecutors claimed that Rudi was involved in more than six instances of illicit practices and had allegedly received a total of $2.42 million in kickbacks.

Among the allegations include the S$200,000 (US$157,000) and $900,000 bribes from the president of Singapore-based oil trading firm Kernel Oil, Widodo Ratanachaithong, through Simon Gunawan Tanjaya, an executive at the firm.

“The money was given for Rudi’s service in appointing Fossus Energy Pte Ltd. [another firm represented by Widodo] as the successful purchaser of the Senipah oil and condensate in June 2013,” Riyono said.

According to the court hearing, Widodo first met Rudi in April 2013 in Singapore, where he introduced himself as a trader and expressed his interest in participating in SKKMigas tenders.

At that time Widodo said that he represented four oil firms: Kernel Oil, Fossus Energy, Fortek Thailand Co. Ltd. and World Petroleum Energy Pte Ltd.

Rudi introduced Widodo to his golf trainer, Deviardi, a middleman in the case. Deviardi has been named a suspect.

“Widodo then met with Deviardi at the Mandarin Hotel in Singapore and gave $200,000 to be handed to Rudi. Deviardi kept the money in his deposit box at the CIMB Bank in Singapore. Deviardi reported to Rudi and Rudi said ‘Okay just keep the money at first’,” Riyono said.

“On July 26, Deviardi again gave $300,000 from Widodo to Rudi, of which $200,000 was given to Sutan Bhatoegana [Democratic Party lawmaker] through Tri Julianto while the remainder was kept by Deviardi in a Bank Mandiri deposit box,” the prosecutor said.

Rudi is also accused of accepting $522,500 from the president director of PT Kaltim Parna Industri, Artha Meris Simbolon, for his service in lowering the price of gas sold to the firm.

Prosecutors allege Rudi laundered the bribe money through cars, houses and luxury watches.

Rudi is accused of instructing Deviardi to spend Rp 1.6 billion ($130,751) on a Volvo XC90; Rp 630 million on a Toyota Camry; and $11,500 on a Rolex watch as birthday gifts for Rudi’s wife. He is also accused of using the money to buy a house in Menteng, Central Jakarta.

Another PD politician grilled over Hambalang

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Tue, January 07 2014, 10:10 AM

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) questioned a member of the Democratic Party’s (PD) board of patrons on Monday in its ongoing investigation of the money trail that flowed from the graft-ridden Hambalang sports complex project to the party’s 2010 congress in Bandung.

KPK prosecutors have accused former Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum of having received Rp 2.2 billion (US$180,400) from PT Adhi Karya, the company that won the Hambalang project, to finance his successful bid to chair the party.

Member of the party’s board of patrons Suaidi Marasabessy said that KPK prosecutors asked him about money and smartphones that were allegedly distributed by Anas’ campaign to a number of party cadres at that congress. “The questioning was to clarify statements from TB Silalahi,” Suaidi told reporters at the KPK headquarters on Monday, referring to the Democratic Party’s ethics council and advisor to President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono, the party’s chairman.

On Dec. 11, the KPK questioned Silalahi over a claim that the party’s congress was rife with bribery. Silalahi handed over the results of the party’s internal probe into the allegations to the KPK after his questioning.

“We questioned them [former leaders of the party’s regional executive board] and then we prepared our report. After we finished [the report], we submitted it to the KPK,” he told reporters.

Silalahi said he had previously summoned members of the party’s regional and local branches to gather information on claims that former party chairman Anas Urbaningrum had bribed congress participants to choose him over former youth and sports minister Andi Alfian Mallarangeng and House of Representatives Speaker Marzuki Alie in the race for the party’s chairmanship.

Suaidi refused to disclose the amount of the bribes accepted by congress participants.

“I have no authority to talk about it here, please ask the KPK about it as it has the authority to comment on the things that were written in the questioning dossier,” he added.

He also said that KPK prosecutors did not ask him about whether or not the money was from contractor Adhi Karya.

Anas, who was also charged with accepting a Toyota Harrier as a thank-you gift from Adhi Karya in February 2013, was scheduled for questioning on Tuesday. The KPK will reportedly detain Anas following the questioning.

A Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) report in August 2013 revealed that the Hambalang project, which grew from a modest Rp 125 billion single-year project into a multi-year project worth Rp 2.5 trillion, had resulted in state losses of Rp 463.6 billion.

Former Religious Affairs Ministry official indicted for Koran graft

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Tue, January 07 2014, 10:05 AM

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors on Monday indicted a former top official at the Religious Affairs Ministry for his roles in the graft case surrounding the procurement of Korans, the Islamic holy book.

The KPK has accused the ministry’s former director of sharia guidance, Ahmad Jauhari, of enriching himself and other people in the procurement of Korans project during the period of 2011 and 2012 at the Ministry.

“The defendant has embezzled Rp 100 million [US$8,200] and $15,000 [from the project],” prosecutor Antonius Budi Satria told the Jakarta Corruption Court.

Prosecutors said that Ahmad worked with other individuals in the ministry, including Abdul Karim, the secretary-general at Ahmad’s directorate, Mashuri, a staffer at the ministry, deputy Religious Affairs Ministry Nasaruddin Umar, middlemen Zulkarnaen Djabar, Golkar Party politician Fahd El Fouz, directors of PT Adhi Aksara Abadi Indonesia Ali Djufrie and of PT Sinergi Pustaka Indonesia Abdul Kadir Alaydrus.

Jauhari is said to have enriched Mashuri, who received Rp 50 million and $5,000; PT Perkasa Jaya Abadi Nusantara, which is owned by Zulkarnaen’s family, with Rp 6,7 billion; PT Adhi Aksara Abadi Indonesia with Rp 5.8 billion; and PT Sinergi Pustaka Indonesia with 21.2 billion

Prosecutors said that before the project tender, Zulkarnaen, who was a member of the House of Representatives’ commission VII overseeing religion and the House’s budget committee (Banggar), asked Fahd to become a middle man to secure the project for the Ministry and to arrange that the project would be won by companies recommended by Fahd.

Fahd and Zulkarnaen as well as Dendy Prasetia then met with Nasaruddin, who was the Ministry’s Islamic Education directorate general when the corruption took place, and Abdul Karim. “Fahd and his friends introduced themselves as an envoy of the House of Representatives,” Antonius said.

According to prosecutors, Nasaruddin and Abdul Karim as well as Jauhari convinced that they were ready to help the project. PT Adhi Aksara Abadi Indonesia then was decided as the winner of the project in 2011, prosecutors said.

For the procurement of Korans in 2012, Jauhari set PT Sinergi Pustaka Indonesia as the winner of the project. For his service, Jauhari received Rp 100 million and $15,000 from Abdul Karim and Ali Djufrie.

The value of the Koran procurement project was Rp 20 billion in 2011 and Rp 55 billion in 2012. According to an audit of Investigation by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) the state losses resulted from the graft-ridden project was Rp 27 billion from the Koran procurement projects in 2011 and 2012.

If found guilty, Jauhari could face 20 years behind bars for his alleged corruption.

According to the KPK, the Religious Affairs Ministry was the most corrupt institution of 22 government agencies it surveyed in 2011.

The ministry received 5.37 points out of a possible 10, below the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry, which received 5.44 points, and the Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry, which received 5.52 points.

The KPK has previously announced that it uncovered irregularities in the management of Rp 1.7 trillion in interest on payments made by haj pilgrims.

Among the suspects in the case, only two have been sent to prison, Zulkarnaen and his son Dendy Prasetya, with each currently serving 15 years and eight years in prison respectively.

Media told to remain impartial during polls

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post | National | Sat, January 04 2014, 9:37 AM

The Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) has said in its year-end report that media bias toward certain political parties and presidential hopefuls was a major concern for Indonesian journalism in 2013, calling on the press to remain impartial ahead of the elections.

“Everyone has the right to get into politics, including media owners. But the media should maintain its function as a ‘social institution’ as mandated by the Press Law. Every media outlet should remain neutral and independent ahead of the upcoming elections,” PWI chairman Margiono said in a statement recently.

The PWI lamented that many media owners turned politicians tended to use their media outlets as campaign machines to boost the electability of particular political parties and presidential as well as vice presidential candidates.

The People’s Conscience Party (Hanura), the Golkar Party and the National Democrat (NasDem) Party are three of the 12 political parties participating in the 2014 elections that have powerful media tycoons in senior positions.

Media mogul Hary Tanoesoedibjo, who is Hanura’s vice presidential candidate, owns media giant PT Media Nusantara Citra, which runs 20 television stations including three national terrestrial stations — RCTI, Global TV and MNC TV. Meanwhile, Golkar chairman and presidential candidate Aburizal Bakrie has two television stations, TVOne and ANTV, while NasDem chairman Surya Paloh runs news channel MetroTV.

Based on data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), television is still the number one source of news and entertainment for most Indonesians. The data from 2012 showed that 91.7 percent of all Indonesians over the age of 10 watched television, while 18.57 percent listened to radio and only 17.66 percent read newspapers and

PWI called on media outlets to disseminate balanced information regarding the weaknesses and the strengths of local and national legislative candidates as well as president and vice presidential candidates.

“Media also should provide viewers information on how to cast their ballots because inadequate information regarding elections may lead voters to stay at home on polling day,” Margiono said.

He also warned that excessive appearances by media owner political candidates on their outlets would harm the name of the media outlets themselves to the public and advertisers. “It will also hurt the dignity of Indonesia’s press freedom,” he said.

As part of its 2014 goal, PWI also encouraged media outlets to carry out more investigative reporting to expose rampant corruption in the country.

“The press also should stay in line with journalistic code of conduct in order to avoid possible violence against journalists in the future,” Margiono added.

Atut ready to step down

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Sat, January 04 2014, 9:33 AM

Banten Governor and graft suspect Ratu Atut Chosiyah said through her lawyer that she was ready to hand power to her deputy Rano Karno and that she was currently waiting for a formal letter of suspension from the Home Ministry.

The governor is facing mounting calls for her to quit her post following her arrest by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on allegations that she helped bribe a top Constitutional Court justice in relation to an election dispute in Lebak.

“We have yet to receive any letter from the Home Ministry. If we receive the letter, she will voluntarily hand over the authority to [her deputy],” Atut’s lawyer Tubagus Sukatma said at KPK headquarters on Friday, adding that Atut did not want her arrest to disrupt government processes in Banten.

Meanwhile, he said that the Home Ministry could only send the letter as soon as Atut stands trial. “That’s the problem. She has actually always been ready for it [to face her suspension],” he added.

Previously, Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi said that his office would consider suspending Atut from her position if the KPK filed a request recommending her suspension. This means that Home Ministry will suspend Atut without having to wait for her case to be brought to the Court.

Gamawan made the remarks in response to KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto’s statements, which said that the anti graft body would soon send a letter requesting Atut’s suspension to the Home Ministry.

Bambang said that if graft suspects are not suspended from their positions, they could use their power to eliminate evidence or to influence witnesses. “They [any graft suspects who are still in power] can arrange or discourage people to become witnesses,” he added.

Contacted separately on Thursday, Reydonnyzar Moenek, a staffer at the Home Ministry, said that the ministry had prepared the process of transferring power from Atut to Rano.

“The letter has been prepared and will be sent [to Atut and the KPK]. But we need authorization from the KPK first [before Atut can sign the letter],” he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

According to Moenek, the authorization is required for the Banten legal bureau to visit Atut to ask for her signature needed for the letter to take effect.

After the letter was signed, Rano would assume Atut’s role in governing the province, he added.

“But there was one authority that Atut still possessed, the authority to mutate, rotate, promote and dismiss officials at the administration,” Moenek said.

He said that the power transfer was needed to ensure that the regional administration was not compromised by Atut’s detention.

With the power transfer, there was no need for Atut to be dismissed before she stood trial for her alleged role in the bribery case implicating former Constitutional Court chief justice Akil Mochtar, according to Moenek.

“Until she stands trial, just let it be [her status as governor while Rano assumes her role],” he said.

The KPK said that it detained Atut just days after she was named a suspect in two graft cases because it suspected that Atut was attempting to hamper the investigation by influencing witnesses.

On Friday, the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) chairman M Yusuf said that his office had found a number of suspicious transaction on Atut’s bank accounts totaling millions of rupiah.

“Every transaction reaches tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of rupiah. If we add up all of them the total may reach billions,” Yusuf said on Friday.

He said that he had submitted the report on Atut’s suspicious bank accounts with the KPK on Sept. 25, 2013.

He added that the transfer of money in Atut’s bank accounts came from various sources, individuals and corporations.

KPK changes public attitudes toward graft

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Fri, January 03 2014, 10:06 AM

Media exposure of the arrests of high-ranking state officials and politicians and the hefty prison terms they have received have changed the attitudes of Indonesians to become more anti-corruption, an annual survey by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) has confirmed.

The BPS survey on attitudes toward corruption (IPAK), released on Thursday, revealed that Indonesia’s index of anti-corruption attitudes in 2013 reached 3.63 out of the maximum 5 points, up from the 2012 index of 3.55.

BPS chairman Suryamin told a press briefing on Thursday that there was a change in people’s attitudes toward corruption because they did not want to encounter the embarrassing arrests and hefty prison terms that had been experienced by corrupt officials. “People who used to say corruption was acceptable have now changed their views, saying that corruption cannot be tolerated. This is probably down to the massive media exposure of the arrests of corrupt officials, who received heavy prison terms, which makes them afraid to experience the same things,” Suryamin said.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) made strides in 2013 by arresting high-ranking and powerful officials who were subsequently handed heavy sentences.

The Jakarta Corruption Court recently handed down long prison sentences for former Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) chairman Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq and his aide Ahmad Fathanah, respectively, to 16 and 14 years behind bars for corruption and money laundering. Luthfi is the first active party chairman to be charged with corruption.

Meanwhile, former Democratic Party politician Angelina Sondakh and former National Police Traffic Corps (Korlantas) chief Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, who filed appeals with the Supreme Court and the Jakarta High Court, respectively, received heavier sentences from four to 12 years for Angelina and from 10 to 18 years for Djoko. Djoko was also the first top police general to be charged by the antigraft body since its establishment in 2002.

Late last year, the KPK also arrested then Constitutional Court (MK) chief justice Akil Mochtar and Banten Governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah, who were both alleged to have engaged in a bribery scheme to fix an election result in Lebak.

The survey showed that 71 percent of 10,000 households in 170 regencies and municipalities in 33 provinces across Indonesia said that television was the most effective medium to disseminate knowledge on anti-corruption. The figure is higher than 2012’s 67 percent.

The interview of respondents was conducted from Nov. 1-15, 2013, with a response rate of 90.3 percent. The BPS recorded respondents’ opinions and experiences of bribery, extortion and nepotism when dealing with public services.

The ranges of scores used in IPAK consist of four levels: the scale from 0-1.25 means people are “very tolerant” toward corrupt practices, while a score index of 1.26-2.50 is categorized as “tolerant”.

“The index range of 2.51-3.75 indicates an ‘anti-corruption’ attitude. For example, housewives question the source of the money given by their husbands,” Suryamin said, adding that the index range of 3.76-5.0 showed a “highly anti-corruption” attitude.

Suryamin said that people living in urban areas had a score of 3.71, while it was only 3.55 for those who lived in villages. Meanwhile, he added, people with higher levels of education usually resulted in higher index scores. Respondents who only completed junior high school scored 3.55, while those who graduated from high school received a score of 3.94 points.

The survey also showed that respondents who were under 40 years of age received a score of 3.63
points, while those who were between 40 to 59 and above 60 received scores of 3.65 and 3.55 points, respectively.

In the category of public affairs, around 84 percent of respondents said that it was improper to bribe officials to become civil servants, up from 81 percent in 2012. While, 71 percent of them said that it was inappropriate to give money to police officers in order to avoid traffic tickets, up from 2012’s 68 percent.

Indonesia Corruption Watch’s (ICW) public service monitoring division head, Febri Hendri, said that the survey results showed that people had become more critical and despised corrupt practices.

“We don’t believe that the progress in the index level was a result of government policies and programs to eradicate corruption. The progress is due to the role of media outlets that have exposed various corrupt practices in the society, so that people become well aware of them afterward,” Febri said.

A recent survey released by Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) in early December confirmed that the fight against rampant corruption in the country has not made much progress in the past year with Indonesia receiving a score of 32 on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), the same score that the country got last year.

TI’s index put Indonesia in the 114th position out of 177 countries, four spots higher than last year.
Indonesia was two points ahead of Timor Leste, but one point behind Kosovo.

Golkar denies receiving Akil’s illicit money

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Thu, January 02 2014, 8:49 AM

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) questioned the Golkar Party’s secretary-general, Idrus Marham, on Tuesday amid allegations that the party had received illicit funds from former member Akil Mochtar, who was charged with corruption and money laundering.

Idrus was grilled for 10 hours as a witness for former Constitutional Court chief justice Akil and denied the allegations.

“We received no money [from Akil],” Idrus told reporters at the KPK’s headquarters.

Idris also denied that the party had instructed Akil in his capacity as chief justice to rule in favor of candidates who were backed by Golkar in regional election disputes.

The KPK had named Akil a suspect in two separate graft cases related to election disputes in Lebak regency in Banten province and Gunung Mas regency in Central Kalimantan province. Shortly after his arrest, the KPK charged Akil with money laundering after the antigraft body collected evidence of Akil’s money-laundering activities by tracing transactions in and out of his bank account, which had amounted to more than Rp 100 billion (US$ 8.2 million).

In relation to the Lebak election dispute, the KPK also named Banten Governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah ,who is Golkar’s deputy treasurer, a suspect, while another Golkar lawmaker, Chairun Nisa, was named a suspect in relation to the Gunung Mas election dispute.

Idrus said that KPK investigators had asked him about Golkar’s internal mechanism in choosing regional candidates.

He further said that the KPK did not need to question Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie as all information needed by the antigraft body could be answered by the party’s secretary-general.

“This has nothing to do with the chairman [of Golkar Party]. The secretary-general bears the responsibility to explain the party’s internal mechanism [in choosing regional candidate head],” he said, mentioning to his current position as secretary-general of Golkar.

The allegations of cash flow from Akil to Golkar emerged when the KPK had scheduled to question the party’s treasurer, Setya Novanto, on the same day of Idrus’ questioning. Setya, however, could not meet the summons because he was abroad. The KPK has rescheduled Setya’s questioning to next week.

On Monday, KPK chairman Abraham Samad said that his office needed to question the two Golkar dignitaries as their clarifications on a number of things were important for the investigation of Akil’s case.

“Why were they summoned? Because there are things that we want clarified. There are things [information] that needed to be dug out [from them],” Abraham said on Monday, refusing to disclose further details on the pursued clarifications.

In relation to the graft cases implicating Akil, the KPK has confiscated several of Akil’s assets, comprising a house and a plot of land in Karangduwur village, Petanahan, Kebumen regency, Central Java; his family home at Jl. Pancoran Indah III No. 8, South Jakarta; a 6,000 square-meter plot of land planted with mahogany trees in Cimuleuk village, Waluran, Sukabumi; and a 12,600 square-meter plot of land in Singkawang, West Kalimantan. The commission has also seized 33 cars and 31 motorcycles of various brands allegedly related to Akil.

On Monday, the KPK questioned Akil’s family members in connection to the money laundering case. They included Akil’s wife, Ratu Rita and their two children, Aries Adhitya Shafitri and Riki Januar Ananda.

Tatu may become Banten deputy gov

Haeril Halim/Hasyim Widhiarto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Sun, December 29 2013, 8:58 AM

The election of Ratu Tatu Chasanah as leader of the Golkar Party’s Banten chapter is key for her political dynasty to retain its clout in the province.

Her election will pave the way for the Serang deputy regent to become Banten deputy governor should her sister, Ratu Atut Chosiyah, the current governor, be dismissed and replaced by her deputy, Rano Karno.

Ratu Atut is now being detained by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on allegations that she helped bribe a top constitutional court justice in relation to an election dispute in Lebak regency.

Rano, an Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician, has said that he is ready to replace Ratu Atut, who has as of today managed to retain her position despite her detention.

A political observer from Banten’s Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa University, Dahnil Anzar, said that Tatu’s victory had brought her closer to the position of deputy governor as it was the responsibility of the party’s chapter’s chairperson to name the person who would succeed Rano should Atut be officially dismissed.

“[Tatu’s election] shows us that Atut’s influence among Golkar politicians in Banten is still very strong,” he said.

“Atut’s  family is trying to retain its control of the government in the province. Tatu’s new position has given her the authority to appoint herself as the deputy governor if Atut is removed.”

Held as part of Golkar’s Banten chapter’s extraordinary regional meeting (Musdalub), the race set Tatu against Cilegon Mayor Tubagus Iman Ariyadi to replace Atut’s late husband, Hikmat Tomet, who passed away last month.

Atut’s family’s web of power in the province had benefited the party since she became deputy governor in 2002, making the position of Atut’s family important for the Golkar Party.

Different members of Atut’s family control five of Banten’s eight regencies and municipalities, including Tatu; her sister-in-law, South Tangerang Mayor Airin Rachmi Diany; her stepbrother, Tubagus Haerul Jaman, who serves as Serang’s mayor; and her stepmother, Pandeglang Deputy Regent Heryani. All of them are Golkar politicians.

Responding to the speculations, Tatu said that she had not thought about the position of deputy governor as she still hoped that Atut’s case would not be brought to the court. “Don’t pray for bad things [for Atut],” Tatu said.

Meanwhile, Tatu did not deny her opportunity of becoming the deputy governor in the worst scenario should Atut’s case be tried in the future. “Yes, there is a possibility,” she said.

Golkar’s Advisory Council chairman Akbar Tandjung said that he would not want to speculate who would become deputy governor if Rano became governor. “It does not have to be [Tatu],” he said.

Prior to the Musdalub, Akbar was among party dignitaries who suggested that Golkar’s Banten chapter’s leadership should be kept away from Atut’s family members following Ratu Atut’s scandals, which had tarnished the party’s image in Banten.

“We have to learn from what Golkar has experienced. The experience teaches us lessons. The lessons should become our reference for [a better] future for the Golkar leadership. The party leadership in Banten gives political lessons to people in order [for us] to be better in the future,” Akbar said.

With Atut’s departure, the only remaining Golkar figure who holds a top administrative position in Banten is Suparman, Golkar’s Banten chapter’s deputy chairman, who is now sitting in as deputy speaker at the Banten Regional Legislative Council.

Suparman said Tatu’s victory would provide significant moral support to party members. “This new chairmanship will give Golkar a fresh start in Banten,” he said on the sidelines of the Musdalub on Friday.

The KPK named Atut a suspect last week for her role in the bribery case involving former Constitutional Court (MK) chief justice Akil Mochtar to rule in favor of Lebak deputy regent Amir Hamzah, who was backed by the Golkar Party. Lebak is one of Banten’s regencies in which Atut has little influence. Amir lost the election to Iti Octavia, who also comes from a prominent political family in the province.

Gerindra, Hanura receive largest campaign donations

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Sat, December 28 2013, 9:34 AM

Last minute: Staff members of the General Elections Commission (KPU) receive election-campaign funding reports from political parties at the KPU’s headquarters in Jakarta on Friday, which was the last day to submit their returns to the KPU. JP/Jerry Adiguna

The Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party and People’s Conscience (Hanura) Party appear to have bested the country’s major political parties in terms of financial support.

The General Elections Commission (KPU) said all political parties taking part in the 2014 elections had submitted their bank account details and initial campaign fund reports on Friday.

“We will publish details of the reports three days after the deadline on the KPU’s website,” the KPU’s Ferry Kurnia Rizkiyansyah said on Friday night.

Ferry said the reports submitted by political parties included details of the sources of campaign funds.

“In March 2014, political parties will submit reports again on how they have used or spent their campaign budgets,” he said.

According to information collected from political parties, Gerindra reported the highest campaign funds with Rp 144 billion (US$11.7 million). The party claimed the total campaign funds were collected from legislative candidates across Indonesia.

“We have yet to receive funds from other sources such as companies and individuals. The total also does not include the party’s own cash [but is purely from legislative candidates],” Gerindra treasurer Thomas Acquinas Muliatna said in Jakarta on Friday.

Hanura, which is backed by media tycoon Hary Tanoesoedibjo, who the party has nominated as its vice presidential candidate, submitted its initial campaign fund report of Rp 135.5 billion, higher than the ruling Democratic Party’s (PD) Rp 135 billion.

Meanwhile, the largest opposition party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), reported initial campaign funds of Rp 130 billion.

Political parties that reported no more than Rp 100 billion were the National Mandate Party (PAN) with Rp 86 billion; the Golkar Party with Rp 75 million; the National Awakening Party (PKB) with Rp 53 billion, the United Development Party (PPP) with Rp 45 billion; the National Democrat (NasDem) Party with Rp 41 billion; the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) with Rp 32 billion; the Crescent Star Party (PBB) Rp 26.9 billion; and the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI) with Rp 19 billion, Antara news agency reported on Friday evening.

In the 2009 general election, Gerindra also topped the list of political parties’ reports of campaign funds, with Rp 308 billion, followed by the PD with Rp 234 billion; Golkar with Rp 164 billion; the PKS with Rp 36 billion; Hanura with Rp 19 billion; the PAN with Rp 18 billion; the PDI-P with Rp 10 billion; the PKB with Rp 3 billion; and the PPP with
Rp 1 billion.