KPK Says Hambalang Case Expanding

By webadmin on 04:16 pm Jul 11, 2012
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Tunggadewa Mattangkilang & Rizky Amelia

Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. The Corruption Eradication Commission said on Tuesday that it would officially charge at least two suspects for their roles in a bribery scandal related to the construction of the Hambalang sports center in Bogor.

“We will raise the level of our investigation next week,” Abraham Samad, the chairman of the antigraft commission, known a the KPK, said on the sidelines of a meeting with East Kalimantan Police. “The case revolves around a project procurement process, gratuities and bribery. Quite possibly there are more than two suspects.”

The case has gained national attention after graft convict Muhammad Nazaruddin accused the chairman of the ruling Democratic Party, Anas Urbaningrum, of receiving bribe money in exchange for rigging the tender process for the Hambalang project.

According to Nazaruddin, Anas used the Rp 100 billion ($10.6 million) of the bribes he received to fund his campaign to become the Democratic chairman.

The antigraft commission has questioned Anas twice about the allegation and the politician denied any wrongdoing in the Hambalang case.

Abraham said the commission was aware of the intense national interest in the case but said they would rush their investigation or bring charges in response to public pressure.

“In fighting corruption, we don’t care where someone is from or what party they belong to,” he said. “But if someone is not yet charged that doesn’t mean he will never be charged.”

A rumor circulated on Monday that the KPK had charged two officials from the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs — planning bureau chief Deddy Kusdinar and evaluation and information division head Wisler Manalu.

But speaking in Jakarta, KPK deputy chairman Busyro Muqoddas denied the information.

“No one has been named a suspect in the Hambalang case,” he said. “We are taking our time to check and validate all the evidence that we gather, to make sure that everything is accurate and correct. The investigation is time consuming as a result but we won’t compromise our professionalism.”

According to Nazaruddin, Anas rigged the tender process and awarded the Hambalang project to construction company Adhi Karya.

The House of Representatives has launched a separate investigation into the case after it emerged that lawmakers had originally approved a Rp 125 billion budget for Hambalang before the figure ballooned to Rp 2.5 trillion.

A legislative working committee last week found glaring discrepancies in the acquisition of the land for the facility.

Zulfadli, the committee chairman, said that the government had already allocated the money for the acquisition of a 312,448-square-meter site in Bogor, between 2004 and 2008, but the Sports Ministry issued fresh funding for that very purpose in 2009, which essentially meant the land was paid for twice.

Agus Hermanto, a member of House Commission X, which oversees sports affairs, said legislators were also waiting for the results of an investigation by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) to track down the spending of the Hambalang funds.

He said that it was strange that any money had been released in the first place, given that funding for the project had never been given the go-ahead from the Finance Ministry.

Analysts have pointed to the cases embroiling Anas and Nazaruddin as the main factor for the Democratic Party’s startling decline in popularity. When the Democrats won a majority in the House in 2009, anticorruption was their main platform.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono recently said publicly that corrupt party members should step down from their posts, and senior Democrat Ruhut Sitompul said the president’s statement was directed at Anas.