Bribery is common and sometimes necessary in government-funded procurement projects, a graft suspect has said.
Dedy Suwarsono, a suspect in a bribery case involving the purchase of patrol vessels by the Transportation Ministry, was speaking during a trial session at the Corruption Court in Jakarta on Friday.
"I realize it is not right to give money to government officials. In reality, we (suppliers) often face obstacles (to winning a project), so we have to do it," he told the panel of judges.
Dedy, director of PT Bina Mina Karya Perkasa -- one of the companies that secured a tender to procure 20 patrol vessels for the ministry between 2007 and 2008 -- has been charged with bribing Bulyan Royan, a Reform Star Party (PBR) legislator on the House of Representatives' Commission V overseeing transportation and public works.
At that time, the House had approved the disbursement of Rp 300 billion (US$27.65 million) for the ministry to procure the boats. The procurement was divided into five different projects and offered to five suppliers, including Dedy's firm.
"Did you still do it (bribe) even though it violated the regulations?" one of the judges Ahmad Linuh asked.
Dedy said he had preferred to violate the regulations rather than see his company lose the tender.
"At least there was a possibility the (bribe) would not be disclosed," he said, adding that depending on the government officials involved, bribes were sometimes necessary in doing business with the state.
"If they (the officials) don't ask for money, then I'm happy. I am willing to compete (with other firms) and I am happy to compete fair and square," he said.
Dedy said he had paid out Rp 2 billion in bribes to secure the ministry project, which was valued at Rp 24 billion.
The money was transferred to Bulyan's PT Tetra Dua Sisi and ministry officials Djony Algamar and Tansean Malau.
In a different trial, supply executive Chandra of PT Sarana Fiberindo Marina said each supplier had been "required" to pay a total of 8 percent of the total value of the project to Bulyan and officials at the ministry.
Chandra said each supplier had been obliged to pay an additional US$2,000 and Rp 15 million to the ministry officials.
He said there had been several meetings between his company and the ministry officials and Bulyan in different hotels in Jakarta to discuss the money sharing even before the tender process had officially begun.
Bulyan has also been named a suspect in the case. He was arrested after cashing in $66,000 and 5,500 euros (US$7,031) at a bank in a shopping mall in South Jakarta.
The money was allegedly his share of the money allocated for the vessel procurement project.