The Golkar party says it will provide legal assistance for former maritime affairs and fisheries minister Fadel Muhammad after he was recently named a suspect in a 2011 Gorontalo budget investigation.
The party also says Fadel will maintain his post as deputy party chairman. It was the second time for Fadel to be named a suspect in the same case after his case had earlier been dropped.
“I hope the news is untrue because he had received a letter [ordering the investigation to be stopped]. He will not be removed [from his post]. We will give [him] legal assistance,” party chairman Aburizal Bakrie said at the Sasana Budaya Ganesha in Bandung,West Java, on Saturday.
The Gorontalo Prosecutors’ Office confirmed earlier this week it again named former governor Fadel Muhammad a suspect on May 14 in the case.
Fadel was initially suspected to have misused unused funds from the 2001 Gorontalo budget, allegedly causing Rp 5.4 billion (US$576,430) in state losses.
However, a court terminated the case because of a lack of evidence.
Gorontalo Prosecutors’ Office assistant for special crimes M. Sunarto confirmed that the case had been reopened in the district and high courts.
“The suspect, idnetified by the initials FM, has again been named a suspect following the courts’ decision to reopen the case,” Sunarto told The Jakarta Post.
Sunarto, however, said that prosecutors had yet to decide when to summon him for questioning.
Prosecutors questioned four witnesses during the previous investigation, all of whom were Gorontalo Council members from 2001 to 2006.
Fadel allegedly distributed the unused budget to 45 Gorontalo Council members instead of returning it to the regional treasury.
Fadel said the Prosecutors’ Office mentioned nothing about his case when he contacted the office chief.
“I have spoken to the Gorontalo Prosecutors’ Office head. He said no one had been named a suspect,” Fadel said in a text message. (mtq)