Antigraft activists have questioned why the son of cabinet minister Syarif Hasan, who is also the executive chairman of the ruling Democratic Party, has not been charged in a corruption case centering on a Rp 25 billion ($2.05 million) project administered by the minister’s office.
Boyamin Saiman, coordinator of the Indonesian Anti-Corruption Society (MAKI), said on Thursday that just the fact that Imaje Media, a company owned by Riefan Avrian, was allowed to bid for the contract from the Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry, headed by his father, Syarif, was an ethical violation.
“I am 99.9 percent certain that Syarif’s son won this contract because of his father’s position as the minister,” Boyamin said as quoted by Harian Terbit.
“In cases like this the winning contractors can expect to make a profit of 50 to 60 percent of the value of the contract.”
The case came to light earlier this week when the Jakarta District Attorney’s Office revealed that it had questioned Riefan as a witness in the case but had no plans yet to charge him.
Riefan’s company is accused of causing state losses of more than Rp 17 billion as a result of rigging the bid for the project to supply video monitors for the ministry.
Prosecutors have charged three people in the case, including Hendra Saputra, an “office boy” at Imaje Media whose job was to run errands but who was listed as a director.
The other suspects are Hasnawi Bachtiar, the ministry’s head of general affairs, and Kasiyadi, a member of the ministry’s tender committee that appointed the contract winner.
Ray Rangkuti, an activist with the Indonesian Civil Circle (LIMA), said it was clear from the fake appointment of Hendra as a director that Riefan’s company was up to no good, for which the minister’s son should face the consequences.
“What’s going on with Riefan is just plain ridiculous. He appointed the office boy as a director, just so that his company would qualify to bid for the contract from his father’s ministry,” he told Harian Terbit.
Syarif said separately that he supported all efforts to get to the bottom of the case, but did not say why his son’s company was allowed to bid for the contract despite the obvious conflict of interest. He also refused to confirm reports that Hasnawi was his brother-in-law.
In a separate case, police announced on Thursday that they had arrested six local councilors from Seruyan district in Central Kalimantan for allegedly taking Rp 2.08 billion in bribes.
Sr. Comr. Agus Rianto, a spokesman for the National Police, said the councilors were arrested on Monday along with two businessmen representing companies that had recently been awarded a combined Rp 15.2 billion in contracts to build roads and overpasses in the district.
Agus said police seized 26 envelopes from the suspects, each containing between Rp 75 million and Rp 100 million.
He added that those arrested, whose names were not given, had been charged with bribery, for which they could face up to five years in prison and Rp 250 million in fines if convicted.
Police are investigating whether other district councilors were also on the take.