Bribery allegations linked to a land rights conflict led anticorruption investigators to raid the offices of a company owned by a close aide to, and financier of, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Friday.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) detained two company officials, despite their efforts to resist arrest. A gang of supporters helped another suspect escape.
The offices of Cipta Cakra Murdaya, owned by tycoon Siti Hartati Murdaya, were searched by KPK officials after the body caught the manager of CCM subsidiary Hardaya Inti Plantation attempting to bribe Amran Batalipu, the district head of Buol in Central Sulawesi.
Siti is known to have donated a significant amount of money to Yudhoyono’s successful 2009 re-election campaign.
As well as searching the CCM offices, the KPK also searched another premises in Central Jakarta, although it was not immediately clear who owned the property.
Bambang Widjojanto, the KPK deputy chairman, said the agency could not give out details about the raids because they were part of an ongoing investigation.
“We cannot say it explicitly to the public yet because it could disrupt the [investigation] process. [I ask that] the public and media please be patient because everything will be revealed in due course,” Bambang said.
The KPK named Amran, Anshori (the general manager of CCM subsidiary Hardaya Inti Plantation) and Gondo Sudjono (operational director of the plantation firm) as suspects. Hardaya Inti Plantation is the largest oil palm plantation owner in Buol district.
KPK chairman Abraham Samad said Anshori and Gondo resisted arrest on Tuesday in Buol when officials moved in to make the arrests.
KPK investigators also had to face a group of men who protected the Buol district head, enabling him to escape.
The men, he added, could have seriously injured KPK investigators when they intentionally crashed their car into one of the KPK team’s cars in their attempt to help the wanted man escape.
The KPK arrested Gondo a day later at Soekarno-Hatta Airport. Bambang said the suspects will be charged with offences under the 1999 Anticorruption Law.