BPK Official Refutes Hambalang Intervention Claim
Rangga Prakoso & Ezra Sihite
A Supreme Audit Agency deputy chairman has denied claims by a colleague that a forensic audit into the graft-ridden Hambalang sports center project was meddled with to omit key players from the list of those implicated in financial wrongdoing.
Hasan Bisri, deputy head of the agency known as the BPK, said on Monday that there had been no intervention whatsoever into the audit currently being conducted into the Rp 2.5 trillion ($261 million) project administered by the Sports Ministry.
“Let me state that there is no intervention,” he said in Jakarta.
“I’ve asked the leaders of the auditing team and I believe that they are highly trustworthy individuals who would never stand for any intervention. That also goes for the BPK leadership.”
Hasan’s statement came amid growing speculation about high-level political intervention to influence the BPK audit into the project, which will be used as the basis for naming criminal suspects in an investigation by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
To date, only one suspect, a middle-ranking Sports Ministry official, has been named a suspect in the case.
Last week, BPK deputy chairman Taufiqurrahman Ruki was quoted by national media as saying he felt the audit had been subject to an “intervention” that resulted in the names of a number of key players being struck off the list of those implicated in financial irregularities.
Among those not on the list are Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng, also a Democrat, both of whom have been widely implicated in alleged bid-rigging in the project.
However, Hasan stressed that it was important to have ample proof before naming anyone for any wrongdoing.
“We can’t be rash about putting someone’s name on the list,” he said.
“It must be based on sufficient evidence. The audit is still not finished and not final, though, so there’s the possibility for more developments to come.”
In a preliminary audit, the BPK reported that it had found evidence of the involvement of Andi and several contractors in irregularities related to the project.
Legislators have insisted that Andi take responsibility for the scandal.
Dedi Gumelar, a member of the House of Representatives’ Commission X, overseeing sports affairs, warned that the integrity of the final version of the audit would be in doubt if it omitted Andi’s name.
“The final audit report that we’ll get to see later must not be the same as the provisional one that I saw earlier today, because it would be misleading if the minister was seen to be ignorant of what his own ministry was doing,” he said on Monday.
“The responsibility ultimately lies with him, so if he’s not implicated then it will be hard to accept the report.”
Andi was scheduled to be questioned by the BPK on Monday morning about the case, but failed to show up, Hasan said.
“This is not the first time he’s been a no-show. It’s happened repeatedly,” he said.
Senior Democrats have rallied around their colleague, with House Speaker Marzuki Alie insisting that the request for questioning by the BPK did not necessarily mean that Andi was suspected of any wrongdoing in the case.
“It’s not an interrogation but a request for clarification of the data,” said Marzuki, the deputy chairman of the Democratic Party’s board of patrons.
“We at the House are also often asked for clarification by the BPK on other issues. That’s how audits work.”
He added his party would not admit the possibility of Andi being implicated in wrongdoing, and that the board of patrons, chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, had never discussed it.