The Corruption Eradication Commission will next week question tycoon and presidential supporter Siti Hartati Murdaya over her role in the bribery case involving her company in the Central Sulawesi district of Buol.
The anti-graft body, known as the KPK, has imposed a travel ban on Hartati after arresting Buol district head Amran Batalipu last month for receiving cash from the businesswoman’s company for a plantation concession in the area.
Hartati admitted to having approved giving money to Amran but claimed the money was a donation intended to maintain good relations with the community.
Hartati said that because Hardaya Inti, her palm oil plantation, is the largest company in Buol, she’s “expected to give donations to the regional government.”
The businesswoman, who was a major supporter of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s 2009 presidential campaign, said that the donation was meant to subdue a conflict between her employees and a group of locals. “I asked the district chief to help handle it,” Hartati said. “He asked for a donation, and we gave it to him.”
She claimed that she did not know the technical details of the donation, saying she only approved it and told her staff to handle it.
Besides Amran, two employees of Hardaya Inti Plantation have also been detained in the case.
Hartati’s questioning was scheduled after the KPK questioned former graft convict Artalyta Suryani in Singapore on Tuesday. Artalyta, who also has plantations in Buol, is believed to have information about Hartati’s involvement in the bribery case.
KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto said more people were likely to be named suspects in the case.
“Amran has been declared a suspect in this case. Two people from the company have also been named as being suspected of bribing Amran. There’s more to come,” Bambang said.