Cherry picking the bad: Indonesian Muslims, including diehard supporters of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), stage an anti-Israel rally in Jakarta in this file photo taken Jan. 11, 2009. As a preacher’s political club, the PKS is now facing a new challenge to its clean and constituent-friendly image, following a string of allegations against party leaders of corruption involving official funds and polygamy without party approval. JP/Berto Wedhatama
Similar to other political parties in the country, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) has not been immune to graft cases involving its members, despite their inexhaustible campaigns for a holy war against corruption.
Here are some of the cases:
1. Helicopter purchase debacles
In 2002, Jakarta Police named former Forestry Ministry secretary-general Suripto a suspect in a case of cost inflation in the purchase of two used Bell 412 helicopters in 2000 while he served as the ministry’s secretary-general. Suripto is one of the founders of the PKS and is now the party’s head of strategic analysis.
Suripto was detained by the police in November 2002 in the case but was released a couple weeks later.
It remains unclear whether then Forestry Minister Nur Mahmudi Ismail, a PKS founder and former first president for the Justice Party (the PKS’s previous name) had any connection to the case.
Although several people embroiled in the case were convicted in 2008, the investigations of Suripto and Nur Mahmudi — now mayor of Depok, West Java — remain unclear.
2. Bank Century bailout fallout
PKS legislator Mukhamad Misbakhun was sentenced to two years in prison by the Jakarta High Court in February after an appeal. His sentence was a year longer than the original levied by Central Jakarta District Court.
Misbakhun, a key initiator of the legislative investigation into the Bank Century bailout, was convicted for creating a fictitious mortgage letter to obtain loans worth $22.5 million from the ill-fated Bank Century. He is currently awaiting an appeal with the Supreme Court.
3. N. Sumatra Governor case
North Sumatra governor Syamsul Arifin was suspended from his position on Wednesday after being named a defendant in an embezzlement case involving Rp 102 billion while he served as Langkat regent between 2000 and 2007.
In the race for the governorship in 2008, Syamsul was primarily supported by the PKS, along with the United Development Party (PPP) and several other smaller parties.
4. Karanganyar kickbacks
Central Java prosecutors have been investigating several political parties, including the PKS, for allegedly receiving funds obtained through corruption in the construction of a subsidized housing complex for impoverished families in Karanganyar regency in 2008.
According to prosecutors, of the Rp 3 billion in kickbacks allegedly received by the parties, the PKS obtained about Rp 1 billion.
5. Tanjung Api-Api scandal
In 2006, PKS legislators Suswono (now Agriculture Minister), Tamsil Linrung, Syamsu Hilal and Anwar Sanusi received kickbacks worth more than Rp 300 million from officials involved in the construction of the Tanjung Api-Api port in South Sumatra. The PKS said its legislators could not reject the offered bribes on the spot for various reasons, but that they later reported the incident and handed over the money to the KPK in 2006.
6. Depok health care corruption
In November 2010, the Depok prosecutor’s office declared former PKS councillor Beni Bambang Erawan a graft suspect in the purchase of health care facilities for Depok General Hospital in 2006.
The Depok court had sentenced the regency’s former health agency head, Mien Hartati, to one year in prison and businessman Yusuf Effendi to 15 months in October 2010 in the case. Depok regency in West Java is known as a major pocket of diehard PKS supporters. The regency is led by Nur Mahmudi Ismail.