Finance Ministry Suspends Officials
Markus Junianto Sihaloho & Rizky Amelia
Six Ministry of Finance officials have been suspended over their suspected involvement in a budget-rigging case linked to the Ministry of Manpower, Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo said on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Agus had announced the suspension of five ministry officials over a leaked document. He said the suspensions would allow the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to conduct an investigation without any interference.
“The number of those suspended is six, not five, and the suspensions are related to the leaking of a document,” Agus said later. “They are not at the core of the budget mafia.”
He said the document in question was a finance minister’s regulation that was leaked before being released to the public. He did not give any further details.
“There is a standard on secrecy that should be maintained,” Agus said. “The document had not yet become a public document, but was leaked. That constitutes a violation and that is what we are investigating.”
The ministry will take steps to ensure this kind of violation does not happen again, he said, without providing details.
Agus said the suspensions would clear the way for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to conduct its investigation into the budget-rigging case.
The six suspended officials, who were not identified, are being investigated by the ministry’s inspectorate general, he added.
“If they turn out to have accepted money, the most severe [sanction] could be given. And if necessary they could be taken to court to face criminal trial,” Agus said.
The minister also took the opportunity to clarify that a man who had been widely identified as a broker in the budget-rigging case, Sindu Malik, was no longer a Finance Ministry official.
He said Sindu had retired in 2009. His last position was as head of a regional tax office.
Sindu is said to have acted as an intermediary in a bribery case related to the Accelerated Fund for Regional Infrastructure Development (DPPID) project at the Ministry of Manpower.
On Thursday, KPK investigators confiscated Rp 100 million ($11,000) from Sindu’s home in Cileduk, Banten. A house he owns in Bendungan Hilir, South Jakarta, was also raided, KPK spokesman Johan Budi said.
Investigators, Johan said, are looking into whether the Rp 100 million had anything to do with the case, which has already led to two manpower officials being named suspects.
“We think the money has something to do with what we are investigating,” he said.
Two high-ranking officials at the Manpower Ministry, I Nyoman Suisnaya and Dadong Irbarelawan, were arrested for allegedly taking a Rp 1.5 billion bribe from the company that won the DPPID contract.
Dharnawati, an executive from the company, Alam Jaya Papua, has also been named a suspect and arrested.
Manpower Minister Muhaimin Iskandar and leaders of the House of Representatives Budget Commission have been questioned by the KPK over the same budget-rigging case.