Anas in graft mix again
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Anas Urbaningrum: (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)
Another graft allegation has been leveled at Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum, now implicated in a corruption case surrounding the 2010 procurement of bird flu vaccine, which lost the state more than Rp 460 billion (US$48.3 million).
An audit by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) has revealed irregularities in what it called an “unhealthy” partnership between the Health Ministry, in charge of the procurement, and companies appointed to build facilities for production of the vaccine, which included PT Anugrah Nusantara, a private company with close ties to Anas.
“It’s true that PT Anugrah Nusantara, which has already been implicated in the Hambalang sports complex case, was also involved in production of bird flu vaccine,” said Achsanul Qosasi of the House of Representatives’ State Budget Accountability Body (BAKN) on Tuesday.
The BAKN was mandated to follow through on the BPK report on alleged irregularities involving the Health Ministry. The body will report its findings to House Commission IX overseeing health and Commission XI overseeing finance.
Qosasi, a lawmaker from the Democratic Party, declined to give details on the company’s role in the irregularities.
“We will dig deeper into the findings,” said Qosasi, who is also a member of Commission XI.
PT Anugrah Nusantara, owned by graft convict and Democratic Party former treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin, won a Rp 718 billion tender for equipment for the vaccine plant.
During several trials at the Jakarta Corruption Court, Nazaruddin repeatedly stated that PT Anugrah Nusantara also belonged to Anas.
Nazaruddin also said outside of the courtroom that he and Anas “are the leaders of the company, while Yulianis is the financial director”.
Nazaruddin gave a record of share transactions as evidence, showing Anas to have purchased a 30 percent stake in PT Anugrah Nusantara in 2007. A vehicle ownership license shows a luxurious Toyota Alphard first owned by PT Anugrah Nusantara with Anas as the second owner.
According to an official document, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post, Anas bought 30 percent of the company’s shares in 2007.
Nazaruddin also said money from the company went to the Democratic Party congress in Bandung the previous year, when Anas was elected chairman.
The company had previously been implicated in a graft-ridden solar power procurement case at the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry in 2008.
The BPK report said that the irregularities took place in 2010, the same year Anas contested the leadership of the Democratic Party in a national congress in Bandung, West Java.
Anas has repeatedly claimed that he relinquished his shares in the company in 2009.
Anas did not return multiple calls from The Jakarta Post on Tuesday evening. But he sent a Twitter message shortly after the unreturned calls, saying that “positive thoughts can turn to prayer. Negative thoughts could come from provocation.”
Deputy House Speaker Pramono Anung said a plenary meeting later this month would discuss the findings and decide whether to order law enforcement agencies to pursue the case.
“The BAKN has given its findings. We will bring this to a plenary session and decide if the KPK [Corruption Eradication Commission] or the National Police will handle the case,” he said.
The National Police announced earlier that a Health Ministry official in charge of arranging contracts, identified as TPS, was a suspect in the case. He is alleged to have received bribes from companies winning tenders for the project.
Police have raided a factory of the state-owned drug maker PT Biofarma in Bandung and a laboratory at Airlangga University in Surabaya, confiscating several items as evidence.