Gorontalo gov: My case won't affect Golkar
Chairman of Gorontalo regional council Fadel Muhammad and graft suspect Fadel Muhammad said on Wednesday that the corruption charges they face will not affect the popularity of the Golkar Party nor harm its existence in the run up to the general election.
"Candidates and supporters of Golkar alike are not affected a single bit by this, in fact, as the case becomes publicized, people know that I am innocent," the two-time Gorontalo governor said, as quoted by state news agency Antara.
Muhammad has staunchly fought back against accusations that he was involved in the misappropriation of Rp 5.4 billion (US$470,000) from the regional state budget.
"It's campaign season so I think I know why this case suddenly resurfaced right before the election. Someone isn't too keen on my rising popularity," he said.
Muhammad underwent questioning at the Attorney General's Office on Tuesday for his alleged role in disbursing a Rp 5.4 billion (US$4.5 million) surplus from the province's 2001 budget.
He allegedly misused the budget surplus, which was supposed to be returned to the regional government.
The money was said to have been distributed among 45 Gorontalo councilors as a "mobilization fund".
Gorontalo legislative council speaker Amir Piola Isa was found guilty in 2005 for his role in the case. Despite the conviction Isa has yet to serve his sentence, pending a Supreme Court ruling on his appeal, and was reelected for the 2005-2009 period .
Muhammad, head of the Golkar Party's Gorontalo branch, has featured prominently among the names touted as possible running mates for presidential hopeful Megawati Soekarnoputri, Chairwoman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
He has also been accused of violating Golkar Party statutes and standing orders by plotting a national convention to select presidential candidates from the party and to stage an extraordinary meeting to unseat Vice President Jusuf Kalla as party chairman last year. (amr)