Hambalang Update: Former Driver Claims to Have Anas’s Smoking Gun

By webadmin on 02:20 pm Jul 12, 2012
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SP/Novianti Setuningsih

A key witness has come forward with evidence that he says establishes Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum as the owner of a holding company implicated in a litany of high-profile graft cases.

Aan Ikhyaudin, the former driver of graft convict Muhammad Nazaruddin, submitted the evidence late on Tuesday to investigators from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), which is probing bid-rigging allegations in the Rp 2.5 trillion ($265 million) Hambalang sports center project in Bogor, West Java.

Aan said the evidence comprised of documents detailing the sale of Nazaruddin’s shares in the company, Anugerah Nusantara, to Anas in 2007. Anugerah was later renamed Permai Group.

“There are three pages in the documents that have Anas’s signature as the buyer of the company from Nazaruddin,” he told reporters after submitting the document.

He insisted that the document was authentic, saying he was present when it was signed and had been asked to photocopy Anas’s ID card as part of the documentation required for the change in ownership.

Nazaruddin, the former Democratic treasurer, was convicted earlier this year of bid-rigging in the construction of the athletes’ village in Palembang, South Sumatra, for last year’s Southeast Asian Games.

He was found to have helped farm out the contracts for the project through shell companies under the Permai Group, but insisted that it was Anas and not he who owned the holding company.

While Anas has repeatedly denied owning the company, several witnesses at Nazaruddin’s trial corroborated the suspect’s claim, saying not only that Anas was indeed the “big boss,” but that billions of rupiah were channeled through the company to pay for Anas’s bid to win the Democrat chairmanship.

Nazaruddin claims Anas’s successful bid was bankrolled with a Rp 100 billion kickback from Adhi Karya, the contractor who won the Hambalang project.

The KPK is also looking into new allegations by Nazaruddin that Anas received a Toyota Harrier SUV as part of the payoff from the contractor. Nazaruddin claimed that the money for the car was handed over by an Adhi Karya official during a meeting with Anas at Ritz-Carlton Pacific Place in South Jakarta.

Anas has been questioned twice in the Hambalang case by the KPK but has not been named a suspect.

Earlier on Tuesday, KPK chairman Abraham Samad said his office was not ruling out the possibility of imposing a travel ban on Anas. He said the reason a ban had not yet been requested was because the Hambalang investigation is still in the preliminary phase.

“Once we elevate the investigation to a full probe, then we can seek a travel ban,” he said.

Under a recent Constitutional Court amendment to the 2011 Immigration Law, a travel ban may not be imposed in connection with a preliminary investigation.

The KPK is also looking into what it calls “numerous aberrations” in the administration of the Hambalang project.

“This project originated from the revised state budget, but this is very unusual for a project of this scale,” Zulkarnaen, a KPK deputy chairman, said on Tuesday.

He also pointed out that construction of the sports facility in the Bogor highlands had begun before a building permit was even issued, and amid concerns about the tectonic stability of the hill on which the main stadium was to be located. The project partly collapsed earlier this year, confirming the site’s vulnerability.

Another finding, unearthed by a legislative inquiry committee, is that the land for the project was paid for twice.

The government allocated Rp 6.87 billion for the 312,000-square-meter area. However, the Sports Ministry, under minister and senior Democrat Andi Mallarangeng, later paid Rp 125 billion for the same purchase — more than 18 times what the government had initially paid.