Finance Minister to testify at KPK for bribery suspect Nurhayati
Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo will testify as a witness for suspect Wa Ode Nurhayati in a bribery case surrounding the deliberation of the 2011 Regional Infrastructure Adjustment Fund (DPID).
Agus will stand as a witness at the request of Nurhayati, who asked the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to summon the minister.
Nurhayati, who claimed she had no authority to fix the budget deliberation for her benefit, said that Agus had knowledge of the DPID budget deliberation. She said she hoped Agus’ testimony would lessen her alleged role in the crime.
Nurhayati, a National Mandate Party (PAN) politician, was a member of the House budget committee at the time of the bribery.
The KPK named her a suspect in December last year for allegedly accepting Rp 6 billion in kickbacks from businessman Fahd A. Rafiq — also a suspect — to facilitate the DPID disbursement in three areas in Aceh.
In April, the KPK also named her a suspect in money laundering.
KPK spokesman Johan Budi said he had yet to set a questioning schedule, but added that his office would send the subpoena to the finance minister on Wednesday.
However, the KPK cannot guarantee whether Agus’ statement will lessen Nurhayati’s alleged role in the case.
“The minister will be a witness to lessen her alleged crime. However, it is up to the minister to decide whether or not he is willing to give a mitigating testimony,” Johan said.
Previously, Nurhayati put the blame on four leaders of the House’s budget committee and the House deputy speaker Anis Matta for interfering in the budget deliberation process.
Nurhayati claimed those leaders fixed the criteria that was used to determine whether a region would be entitled to receive funds under the DPID program.
She said that Agus wrote to the committee, seeking clarification on the new criteria, after the committee concluded its deliberations on the fund worth Rp 7.7 trillion in October 2010.
Apparently, Agus realized that some regions that were supposed to be eligible to receive the funds had been crossed out.
Anis later wrote a letter to Agus, claiming that the House’s budget committee leaders had agreed with the new criteria so that Agus eventually gave his consent.
Agus told the media that he would come to the KPK to give his version of the story.
It will not be Agus’ first questioning session as a witness in a graft case investigation.
In October last year, before KPK investigators, Agus clarified the mechanism of the deliberation through a similar fund called the Regional Infrastructure Development Acceleration (PPID) fund, which was at the center of a 2011 bribery case at the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry.
He also explained his role in the PPID authorization, saying that his office and the House’s budget committee had discussed and later approved the Rp 500 billion budget for transmigration areas as part of the PPID fund, which was first proposed by the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry.
The Finance Ministry allocated a total of Rp 6.13 trillion from the 2011 revised state budget for the PPID’s three allotments.
In the meantime, the KPK is ready to bring Nurhayati to court as soon as its investigators complete the investigation.
“KPK prosecutors will start building the case against Nurhayati most likely next week after we complete the investigation and submit the dossier to them,” Johan said on Tuesday.
He added that his office planned to put the both the corruption charges and the money laundering charges under the same indictment.
“This is because the two alleged crimes are related,” he said.
KPK recently questioned Anis Matta for the bribery scandal.
KPK investigators questioned him about his alleged role in the bribery case, a case in which Wa Ode Nurhayati is already a suspect.
Anis is a deputy House speaker who oversees the budgetary committee, while Nurhayati was a committee member from the PAN faction when the alleged bribery took place in 2010.
Nurhayati recently accused Anis, along with four committee leaders, of interfering with the criteria used to determine whether a region would be entitled to receive funds under the DPID program. Anis has denied the accusation, and maintained his claims of innocence.
“As a deputy speaker for finance and economic affairs, my only job was to relay a statement from leaders of the budgetary committee to the Finance Minister [Agus Martowardojo],” said Anis, referring to a letter he wrote dated Dec. 27, 2010, that stated the committee leadership had agreed on a new set of criteria.
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