National

Dede Yusuf accused of campaign
offenses

The West Java Election Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu) has been investigating alleged malpractices involving money politics and misuse of state facilities for campaigning activities, reportedly on the part of Vice Governor Yusuf Macan Effendi, better known as Dede Yusuf.

Panwaslu member Ihat Subihat said over the weekend that these accusations emerged from a report on an official visit of Dede to three schools in Cimahi recently to observe the first school-day after the Idul Fitri holidays.

Ihat said that during the visit to the state-run SMAN 5 senior high school, Dede introduced two legislative candidates from his National Mandate Party (PAN) who brought with them their campaign teams wearing costumes bearing the party's logos.

Dede, he said, also handed over financial support of Rp 50 million to the school, presented in a package that also carried the party's logos.

"He had the provincial administration's protocol staffs and the mayor of Cimahi in his entourage," said Ihat, underlining that the visit was official.

Panwaslu chairman Mahi M Hikmat said that Dede could be charged with Article 85 of Law No. 10/2008 on elections, which bans public officials from using state facilities for campaign activities.

Violators of this article are subject to administrative sanctions, Mahi said.

In the case of the alleged money politics malpractice, he added, Dede could be charged with Article 87, which carried a maximum penalty of six-months imprisonment or a fine of between Rp 6 million and Rp 24 million.

"We will summon the two legislative candidates and PAN's executives for clarification," said Mahi, adding that the case was the first involving a public officer since the legislative candidate list for the 2009 election was approved.

Responding to the allegation, chairman of PAN's West Java Branch Adib Zein asked the members of Panwaslu not to be so sensitive as to bring a formal accusation of money politics.

He said the money provided to the school was a donation from the party's chairman Soetrisno Bachir that was given to Dede Yusuf to be handed over to the school.

"Let's not talk just like that to the media before we have enough evidence (to make such an accusation). Please investigate it if it was a violation," said Adib, expressing surpise why things involving Dede Yusuf were always blown up in the media.

Dede was in the spotlight in August as the Bogor regental Panwaslu warned him for allegedly using his public position to campaign in support of two candidates in a regency election, namely Fitri Putra Nugraha and running mate Endang Kosasih nominated respectively by the Golkar Party and PAN.

Teten Setiawan of the West Java Regional General Election Commission (KPUD) said the commission would wait for the result of Panwaslu's investigation into the case before deciding anything.

"If it is a crime then we would ask the police to investigate the case. If it is an administrative violation then we will see how serious it is," Teten said.

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