Markus Junianto Sihaloho
The Democratic Party has lashed out at former treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin for alleging that Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono, the president’s son, knew about the flow of billions in graft-tainted funds.
Andi Nurpati, a spokeswoman for the ruling party, said on Friday that Nazaruddin’s mention of Edhie, the party secretary general, a day earlier was “slanderous and an attempt at character assassination.”
“The reason Nazaruddin is dragging Edhie’s name through the mud is probably because he’s disappointed that he was asked by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to resign,” she said.
“From his own statements it’s clear that Nazaruddin knew about a lot of [rigged government] projects, which means that he’s the one who’s mired in those cases.”
Nazaruddin, who was convicted of bid-rigging in April this year, made a passing mention of Edhie during his testimony on Thursday at the trial of another disgraced Democrat, legislator Angelina Sondakh.
He claimed that during his time as the party’s treasurer, he oversaw the spending of up to Rp 64 billion in funds, including those sourced through corruption, and that he was required to give a monthly report on the money to Edhie and Anas Urbaningrum, the Democrat chairman.
Thursday’s testimony was the first time that Nazaruddin linked Edhie to the litany of graft cases that have rocked the ruling party, after previously insisting that Yudhoyono’s youngest son was clean.
Despite the revelation, analysts argue that antigraft investigators are unlikely to follow up on the claim.
Chairul Huda, a criminal law expert from Jakarta’s Muhammadiyah University, said on Friday that because only Nazaruddin had made the allegation, it could not technically be considered a lead for investigators to follow up on.
“The criminal justice system requires that an allegation made against an individual must be corroborated by a second witness and a piece of evidence to warrant further investigation,” he said.
Besides Edhie, Nazaruddin has implicated a host of other senior Democrats in a range of graft cases, including Anas and legislators Jafar Hafsah, Benny K. Harman and Mirwan Amir.
Nazaruddin was himself jailed in a bid-rigging case centered on the construction of the athletes’ village for last year’s Southeast Asian Games.
His wife, Neneng Sri Wahyuni, and Angelina are standing trial in similar but separate cases.
The common thread in all three cases is the Permai Group, an umbrella company for a host of shell firms owned by Nazaruddin and Anas, which were responsible for rigging the bids for the state projects.