KPK Grills Riau Minister Over PON Funding
A senior government minister admitted on Friday that he had discussed the funding for the graft-tainted National Games to be held in Riau later this year, but he denied offering additional funds for it.
Agung Laksono, the coordinating minister for people’s welfare, said after his questioning by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) that he had spoken to Riau Governor Rusli Zainal about the Games, known as PON, but that it was “an official meeting, a coordination meeting, not a casual meeting.”
Agung said the meeting addressed the slow disbursement of the funding for the PON, but that there was no talk of additional funds for the games.
The minister said it was his duty to hold coordination meetings with the governor because he was responsible for the success of the PON.
The meeting, held on April 3, was attended by Rusli, Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng and other officials. Afterward, Andi said an additional Rp 100 billion ($10.6 million) would be allocated to the Games from the state budget.
Agung was questioned on Friday as a witness against suspect Taufan Andorso Yakin, the deputy speaker of the Riau legislature, in a bribery case linked to the PON.
Taufan and two other provincial legislators, M. Faisal Aswan and Muhammad Dunir, were named suspects for allegedly taking bribes in exchange for passing provincial legislation calling for more funding from the central government to construct facilities for the Games.
Also named suspects were Lukman Abbas, former head of the Riau sports agency; Eka Dharma Putra, who heads the agency’s facility development section; and Rahmat Syahputra, an employee of state contractor Pembangunan Perumahan.
PP, along with state contractors Adhi Karya and Wijaya Karya, is alleged to have paid Rp 900 million to the lawmakers to push through the legislation.
At the ongoing trials of Eka and Rahmat in Riau, revelations have emerged that the additional injection of Rp 100 billion in funding was approved by the central government after a Rp 9 billion kickback was paid to the House of Representatives.
A witness at the trials said the kickback was paid by Adhi Karya. The KPK has already questioned two House members, Setya Novanto and Kahar Muzakir, in connection with the allegation.
Both are members of the Golkar Party, as is Agung. In addition, Kahar serves on House Commission X, which oversees sports affairs.
Bambang Widjojanto, a KPK deputy chairman, confirmed that Agung’s seven-hour questioning by antigraft investigators was linked to the instruction authorizing additional funding for the Games. He declined to give details about the questioning.
The extra funding is alleged to have helped the three state contractors mark up the cost of the project.