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Indonesia's first lady implicated in graft case
Publication Date : 26-08-2014
Graft convict and former Indonesia Democratic Party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin caused a stir at the Jakarta Corruption Court on Monday, when he hinted that First Lady Ani Yudhoyono knew about a disputed project in Malang that was allegedly under the supervision of graft suspect and former party chairman Anas Urbaningrum.
Anas stands accused of collaborating with Nazaruddin to collect hundreds of billions of rupiah from granting state projects to PT Permai Group, a company established by the two disgraced politicians to allegedly harbor slush funds, thanks to their extensive power due to their strategic positions in the ruling party.
Nazaruddin said that the First Lady once sent a text message to Anas reminding him to complete the payments on a project at Malang State University, East Java.
“There is a project in Malang under Rosa’s [graft convict Mindo Rosalina Manulang] authority, which is said to have belonged to Anas as well. The vendor in the project has been left unpaid. Please, finish everything to prevent any trouble,” Nazaruddin said in his testimony in court Monday, citing the First Lady’s text message.
Nazaruddin said Anas was angry at him after receiving the First Lady’s message, and urged all his staff at the Permai Group to avoid mentioning Anas’ name in any lobbies with stakeholders for state projects. The Permai Group is composed of several companies engaged in various fields, including construction and medical
Similar testimony had been given on Aug. 14 by Rosa, a former marketing director at PT Anak Negeri, the Permai Group’s branch company, who said that Nazaruddin always told her to avoid mentioning Anas’ name in any lobbying work carried out by her marketing team.
Monday’s trial hearing marked the second time Nazaruddin had delivered incriminating testimony against members of the First Family during Anas’ trial. In last Thursday’s hearing, Nazaruddin claimed that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s youngest son, Edhie “Ibas” Baskoro, had accepted illicit gains from the construction of the 2.5-trillion rupiah (US$214 million) Hambalang sports complex, one of the state projects allegedly rigged by Anas.
“What Yulianis said was true, Mas Ibas accepted $200,000. The money was handed to Ibas at his office in the House of Representatives building,” Nazaruddin said, referring to his confidant, Yulianis, who is former deputy finance director of the Permai Group.
The State Palace has denied the accusation, calling it slander.
In her earlier testimony, Yulianis said Nazaruddin had showered Democratic Party politician and House Speaker Marzuki Alie with $1 million, an allegation that Marzuki denies.
The project at Malang State University was allegedly one of several projects awarded by the Education and Culture Ministry after Anas lobbied education minister Muhammad Nuh.
Nazaruddin said that he, Anas and graft convict Angelina Sondakh, a Democratic Party lawmaker who sat on House Commission X overseeing education, met with Nuh at the latter’s residence to talk about the scheme to rig state projects under the ministry’s supervision.
“The meeting discussed state projects at the ministry. There is evidence to confirm that, in the possession of the Corruption Eradication Commission [KPK],” Nazaruddin said.
In addition to the Hambalang graft case, Nazaruddin testified that Anas lobbied former finance minister Agus Martowardojo to approve a multiyear budget proposal proposed by the Youth and Sports Ministry, which was headed at the time by Democratic Party politician Andi Mallarangeng, who is currently serving four years behind bars for his role in the Hambalang case.
Anas denied the accusation.
Nazaruddin became notorious for showering billions of rupiah on House lawmakers and ministry officials to smooth his plans.
During Monday’s hearing, the panel of judges reminded Nazaruddin of the legal consequences of giving false testimony under oath, but Nazaruddin insisted that he understood the consequences and did not wish to recant or change any part of the testimony that he had given.
Responding to Nazaruddin’s revelations, KPK spokesman Johan Budi said the antigraft body would examine all the testimony given during the trial, adding that a fresh investigation would be possible if KPK investigators discovered at least two strong pieces of evidence pointing to the involvement of other parties in Anas’ case.