Plantation Company Facing Bribe Claim ‘Paid Big Pollster’
The head of a plantation company under investigation for bribing local officials in Buol paid a leading pollster Rp 300 million ($31,000) to conduct a survey ahead of a local election in the Central Sulawesi district earlier this year, it has been revealed.
Syaiful Mujani, the former head of the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI), told reporters that he had been paid the funds by Totok Listoyo, the president director of Hardaya Inti Plantations.
Syaiful was speaking outside the offices of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in Jakarta after responding to the antigraft body’s summons in a bribery case involving Buol district head Amran Batalipu and Siti Hartati Murdaya, a former Democratic Party financier and owner of Hardaya Inti.
“It’s actually confidential but the KPK had already announced [the figure], which is Rp 300 million,” Syaiful told reporters on Monday.
Syaiful said that LSI conducted the survey — regarding public perceptions of local conflicts in Buol — in February at Totok’s request.
“It was just a standard survey about the public’s perceptions related to various conflicts,” Syaiful said.
This was Syaiful’s second appearance before the KPK.
The KPK has named several people as suspects in the case including Amran and Hartati.
Hartati was named a suspect on Aug. 8 in the bribery case, which involves the rights to expand palm oil operations in Buol.
KPK chairman Abraham Samad said recently that Hartati, as the owner of Cipta Cakra Murdaya as well as Hardaya Inti, gave Amran Rp 3 billion ($316,000) in bribes.
“The bribery was related to the securing of concessions needed to extend the palm oil plantations owned by CCM and HIP in the Buol district,” he said.
The bribes were allegedly given in two stages, with Rp 1 billion being disbursed on June 18 and Rp 2 billion on June 26.
The KPK says it has a recording of Hartati’s phone conversations that implicate her involvement in the case.
The antigraft body has already interrogated Hartati twice about the alleged bribery, with the businesswoman undergoing about 25 hours of questioning during the course of the two sessions.