Report Shows Hartati Donated Billions to SBY’s Re-Election Bid in ’09
Markus Junianto Sihaloho
An audit report submitted to the National Election Commission has revealed that Siti Hartati Murdaya and her company, Hardaya Inti Plantation, gave billions of rupiah to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s re-election campaign in 2009.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is investigating Hartati and her company for allegedly paying bribes to Central Sulawesi’s Buol district head Amran Batalipu in order to receive a plantation permit in the area.
Amran has been named a suspect and detained, while Hartati has been banned from traveling by the KPK. Two of the plantation company’s officials have also been detained.
According to an audit by Usman & Partner, a copy of which was obtained by the Jakarta Globe on Sunday, the company contributed Rp 1.65 billion ($175,000) to Yudhoyono’s campaign team in 2009.
Personally, Hartati contributed Rp 750 million.
While the contribution from Hartati and her company did not violate any election laws, observers said that it showed the close relationship between Yudhoyono and Hartati.
“Close relations between businesspeople and politicians could lead to bribery and corruption,” said Emerson Yuntho of Indonesia Corruption Watch.
After Yudhoyono’s re-election, Hartati was appointed as a member of the Board of Patrons of Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party.
During the KPK’s questioning session, Amran admitted receiving Rp 2 billion from Hartati’s company to support his bid for re-election as district chief of Buol.
But Amran’s lawyer made sure to note that Hartati’s plantation reportedly gave several candidates unspecified amounts of money, and he denied that the sum given to his client was a bribe.
Hartati has also admitted to giving money to Amran, but she called it a “donation” for maintaining good relations in the community rather than a bribe.
Amran was reportedly caught with the district chief in the act of receiving money from executives of the Hardaya Inti Plantation, which was reportedly seeking a permit to operate a plantation on a plot of land owned by the state in Buol.
He initially escaped but was apprehended a few days later.
Amran fled the scene of the alleged graft on June 26, but KPK investigators managed to arrest him several days later. He is currently at the KPK detention center in Jakarta.