Business tycoon and former member of the Democratic Party's board of patrons Siti Hartati Murdaya appears on Wednesday morning at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for a questioning session. She failed to show up on Friday when the commission first summoned her. Hartati is a suspect in an bribery case implicating Buol Regent Amran Batalipu. She allegedly gave Rp 3 billion (US$316,589) to Amran to expedite the issuance of business permits for her companies.(Antara/Reno Esnir)After eight hours of questioning on Wednesday, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested business tycoon and former Democratic Party patron board member Siti Hartati Murdaya in a bribery case related to the issuance of a business permit.
Hartati is being detained at the KPK’s detention center in Kuningan, South Jakarta, with other graft suspects, such as Angelina Sondakh, Miranda Goeltom.
“The KPK has found two pieces of reliable evidence, which is enough to detain her,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi told reporters after the questioning. Johan said Hartati would stay in the detention center for at least 20 days.
Hartati showed up in a wheelchair at the KPK at around 10 a.m. on Wednesday after failing to appear when the commission first summoned her on Friday.
Hartati was seen wearing a KPK detainee shirt when she came out of the KPK building at 6:30 p.m.
Hartati’s lawyer, Tumbur Simanjuntak, said his client was sick and had requested that she not be taken into custody for health reasons.
KPK chairman Abraham Samad previously said that Hartati, who was named the 14th wealthiest person in Indonesia by Forbes in 2011, allegedly paid a Rp 3 billion (US$315,000) bribe to Amran Batalipu, the regent of Buol, Central Sulawesi.
The money was allegedly given in connection with the issuance of a business permit for Hartati’s companies, PT Cipta Cakra Murdaya and PT Hartati Inti Plantation.
The KPK said that the money was paid in two installments: Rp 1 billion on June 18 and Rp 2 billion on June 26.
Hartati, who currently chairs the Indonesian Buddhist Association (Walubi), was charged with bribery and conspiracy under the Corruption Law and the Criminal Code and could face five years’ imprisonment and a Rp 250 million fine if convicted.
Amran and two other people working for Hartati -- Yani Anshori and Gondo Sudjono -- have also been named suspects in the case.
Hartati's lawyer claimed his client never bribed Amran, saying that the latter had extorted his client. (fzm/cor/lfr)