Twice As Much Cash Involved in Hambalang: KPK
Markus Junianto Sihaloho & Ezra Sihite
More than double the amount of cash that Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng said went into the graft-ridden Hambalang sports center project was actually spent, an anti-graft official has said.
Andi had said Rp 1.1 trillion ($117 million) was spent on the project. But Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto said on Wednesday that Rp 2.5 trillion had been allocated to the project.
“The Hambalang case actually involves funds amounting to Rp 2.5 trillion and two big projects,” Bambang said.
Andi had told a working committee from House of Representatives Commission X that only Rp 1.1 trillion in state funds were disbursed to the Hambalang project because the government had not approved the Rp 1.4 trillion proposed for procurement of goods and services.
Bambang acknowledged that the KPK had so far only concentrated on bribery and graft allegations in the Rp 1.1 trillion construction project.
The KPK has questioned more than 60 people as witnesses in the case, including Athiyyah Laila, the wife of Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum.
Bambang said the KPK would investigate Hambalang’s goods and services procurement project in the future.
The anti-graft agency has not questioned Andi in regards to the Rp 1.4 trillion procurement project. “That’s going to be interesting because the procurement has already been made,” Bambang said.
However, he quickly added that it was normal to see procurement budgets larger than the budget for construction.
Bambang also said that the KPK had not experienced any problems with political intimidation, which was expected as the case involves leading elites from the ruling Democratic Party.
“We have to be careful, and as the result of our carefulness we being are considered and slow. We don’t want to make a mistake in naming the suspects,” Bambang said.
KPK chairman Abraham Samad added that the reason the KPK was being careful was because it did not have an order to cease investigation.
“First of all, the KPK works professionally. Secondly, the KPK doesn’t recognize [cease and desist orders] and that’s why it has to be careful, accurate and scrupulous,” Abraham argued.
The chairman insisted that he was not afraid to charge anyone, including a chairman of a political party.
“The process is not like turning the palm of your hands. It has to be verified, and studied comprehensively,” he said.
Abraham recently said that Hambalang was a tough case to crack.
“It’s not as easy to investigate as it seems,” he said. “We still need more time to complement the data that have already been gathered by the KPK.”
Although Anas’s name has been mentioned by several officials who have been implicated in the scandal, including Muhammad Nazaruddin, the former Democratic Party treasurer who was convicted earlier this year in a similar bid-rigging case, the chairman has not yet been summoned for questioning.