PKS Politician Says ‘Queen Lobbyist’ Bunda Putri Should Appear in Court
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) lawmaker Fahri Hamzah said on Wednesday that the elusive “queen lobbyist” known as Bunda Putri should explain herself in court.
“She should be presented in court and questioned,” he said. “As a name that has been cited in court, this should be taken care of.”
Bunda, whose real name is Non Saputri, has come up multiple times in court proceedings in a high-profile corruption case involving beef import quotas. Her emerging image is that of a behind-the-scenes power broker in events leading up to the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) arrest of PKS aid Ahmad Fathanah with Rp 1 billion ($88,000) in beef bribes and a part-time sex worker in a Jakarta hotel.
Former PKS chairman Luthfie Hasan Ishaaq named Bunda as a key player in the beef import scheme during his trial for suspected graft. He said that she was a powerful, influential figure who was close to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other senior officials.
Fahri said that Bunda’s presence in court was necessary to prevent the trial from becoming an arena for unfounded and libelous accusations.
“The KPK is actually the one that should [summon her to appear],” he said. “The ones who prepared the case documents should be responsible.”
Despite he name gaining such prominence in the case that the president denied having ever met her in a rare public statement last week, Bunda has never appear in court or been questioned by authorities.
Agriculture Minister Suswono, also a PKS cadre, made a late-night visit to Bunda Putri’s home after Ahmad’s arrest, the KPK said. In court, the commission maintained that wiretapped conversations between Bunda and several PKS members had established the extent of her influence and positioned her as someone who might lead investigators to high-powered suspects.
But so far, the KPK has struggled to explain her exact connection the the events of the scandal.
Andi Zulkarnaen Mallarangeng, the brother of former Youth and Sports Minister Andi Alfian Mallarangen, said that his family knew Bunda.
“Personally, I have seen her, and my extended family knows her,” Zulkarnaen said after being questioned as a witness by the KPK on Wednesday.
He declined to comment further, and would not confirm whether his brother’s wife had once worked for Bunda, as some rumors have suggested.
The KPK has said that it is likely to detain Zulkarnaen, but has yet to do so.