Attorney: Neneng’s Return Was Not to Transfer Funds
Markus Junianto Sihaloho & SP/Novianti Setuningsih
Graft suspect Neneng Sri Wahyuni has denied allegations she returned to Indonesia in order to transfer assets owned by her and her husband, corruption convict Muhammad Nazaruddin, that are believed to amount to Rp 1 trillion ($107 million).
Neneng’s attorney, Junimart Girsang, said the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) did not see fit to ask his client about the allegation. Neneng was questioned — at the KPK building in Jakarta on Monday — for the first time as a suspect since her arrest last week.
Junimart said the asset-transfer allegation should be supported with evidence.
Rufinus Hutauruk, another of Neneng’s attorneys, said Neneng’s return to Indonesia was to surrender herself and to clear her and her family’s name in order to prevent future problems for her three children.
Activist group Indonesia Corruption Watch urged the antigraft body to confiscate all assets owned by Neneng and Nazaruddin, a former legislator.
“There is some suggestion her return to Indonesia was to transfer the assets belonging to Nazaruddin and others. The KPK should urgently confiscate these assets,” ICW researcher Donal Fariz said.
He said that such a confiscation would also safeguard evidence for future trials.
But KPK spokesman Johan Budi dismissed the claim, saying that investigators were still trying to determine the motive for Neneng’s return into the country after 10 months on the run.
Johan said that the KPK had already confiscated some of Nazaruddin’s assets, but he declined to give further details.
Neneng has been named a suspect for her alleged involvement in a graft-ridden solar energy project.
The KPK asked Neneng about Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum’s role in the Hambalang sports center project, but she claimed she didn’t know. “She didn’t know what Anas’ role in Anugerah Nusantara was. That was recorded in the KPK record of interview,” Rufinus said.
Rufinus said Neneng never worked for Anugerah and demanded the KPK explain the allegations they leveled against her.
Neneng has claimed that she was not actively involved in a company that subcontracted its solar power plant project and caused state losses of Rp 2.7 billion. Rather, she claimed she was only responsible for managing its stationery.
“She [Neneng] said she was never active at Anugerah Nusantara,” Junimart said on Monday. “She said that she was asked by Nazaruddin to help with preparing stationery at Anugrah.”
Although the project tender was won in 2008 by Alfindo Nuratama Perkasa, it was Anugerah Nusantara that handled the project and subcontracted it to Sundaya Indonesia. Neneng, who was the financial director of Anugerah Nusantara, allegedly brokered the contract between Alfindo and Sundaya.
The project to supply solar power equipment for the Manpower Ministry was valued at Rp 8.9 billion, of which she allegedly took a Rp 2.7 billion cut.
Nasir Jamil, the deputy chairman of House of Representatives Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, asked the KPK to investigate the alleged markups in university procurement projects that were awarded to Alfindo.
Meanwhile, Neneng’s illegal entrance by boat to Indonesia showed the need for the government to improve its maritime management, a lawmaker said.
Tubagus Hasanuddin, the deputy chairman of House Commission I, which oversees politics, defense and foreign affairs, said it showed that Indonesia was not guarding its maritime territory well. The ease with which Neneng re-entered the country did not bode well for efforts to crack down on illegal fishing, illegal mining and human trafficking, he said.
With more than 81,000 kilometers of coastline and more than 3.1 million square kilometers of sea, Indonesia needs to improve its maritime management, he said.