KPK to Quiz Democratic Party Lawmaker About Solar Panel Case
The Corruption Eradication Commission is set to question Democratic Party lawmaker Sutan Bhatoegana next week as part of an ongoing investigation into the procurement of solar panels at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry.
“I am still away meeting with my constituents. I am scheduled to go in [for questioning] next week,” Sutan said.
Priharsa Nugraha, a spokesman for the antigraft commission known as the KPK, said Sutan was originally scheduled to be questioned on Friday as a witness in the case against the ministry’s former utility and energy harvesting director general, Jacobus Purwono.
The case centers on a contract to supply solar home systems to the ministry in 2009 and has brought down Ridwan Sanjaya, an Energy Ministry official who was in charge of the project.
Last November, Budianto Hari Purnomo, an Energy Ministry official in charge of tendering out the project, testified at Ridwan’s trial that Sutan had promised the ministry that he would help pass a list of amendments to the Electricity Law if companies affiliated with him, including Ridwan’s, were awarded contracts to supply the solar panels.
Ridwan’s lawyer, Sofyan Kasim, has also pointed to Sutan’s alleged involvement.
Sutan has proclaimed his innocence on numerous occasions, and has said that he is ready to be brought before the House of Representatives ethics council.
“I am not afraid because as a lawmaker, I have to be ready to take responsibility for my actions,” Sutan said after the allegations against him surfaced. “But the inquiry should be purely a legal matter — no hidden agenda behind it.”
In an earlier effort to clear his name, the lawmaker brought in a businessman, Yusuf Surya, to speak to reporters. Yusuf said he was the president director of Baranang Bangka Belitung, one of the losing bidders in the project.
“In the tender process, my company was the lowest bidder, but the ministry chose other companies with higher bids,” he said.
The businessman claimed he brought the issue to Sutan, who he said then mediated a meeting with ministry officials.
“At the meeting, they challenged me to report the case to the KPK, so I did,” he said. “I am saddened that [Sutan] has been accused like this. The real crooks are the tender committee. That’s why I feel obliged to defend Sutan.”
The Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court sentenced Ridwan in March to six years in prison. He was also ordered to reimburse the state the Rp 13.1 billion ($1.3 million) he received in kickbacks and pay Rp 250 million in fines.
Jacobus is accused of received Rp 1 billion. He was named a suspect along with the ministry’s former chief of renewable energy, Kosasih Abbas, in August 2010. Neither has been arrested.
Jacobus and Kosasih, according to the KPK, were also responsible for a similar earlier scheme. In 2007 and 2008, the ministry oversaw a project to install 33,000 solar panels in 30 provinces, with each panel able to produce as much as 4.5 kilowatts per day.
The antigraft commission estimate the state lost Rp 119 billion in the project, which was valued at more than Rp 1 trillion.
It has accused Jacobus and Kosasih of receiving at least Rp 4.6 billion in kickbacks from companies in exchange for a piece of this earlier project.