Hendarman implicated in Hartati’s case
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Sound and smiling: Bribery suspect Siti Hartati Murdaya (left) greets her supporters after being questioned by Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators in Jakarta on Wednesday. The former member of Democratic Party’s board of patrons was suspected of paying Rp 3 billion to Buol Regent Amran Batalipu to get business permits in the regency. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)
The plot has thickened in the Buol regent bribe scandal, after a lawyer told investigators that business tycoon Siti Hartati Murdaya offered former attorney general Herdarman Supandji a job, according to a case file obtained by Tempo.
In the dossier, Amat Antedaim, one of the lawyers of Buol Regent Amran Batalipu, told investigators that Hendarman, currently head of the National Land Agency (BPN), was appointed as a director of a company owned by Hartati to facilitate land clearances in Buol, Central Sulawesi, where Hartati operates a plantation.
“Hartati said that she skipped questioning by local prosecutors twice. She said she could skip the sessions because Hendarman Supandji had been recruited to help solve the problems,” Amat said as quoted by the dossier.
One of Hartati’s companies, PT Sebuku Inti Plantations, has been under investigation for allegedly
illegally occupying land owned by the regency.
“The company allegedly has planted oil palm trees on 4,500 hectares that do not legally belong to the company,” Amat said.
Hartati only received a concession of 2,200 hectares, less than the 4,500 hectares she allegedly asked the regent to approve.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has detained Hartati as a suspect in a the case for allegedly paying Rp 3 billion (US$318,000) bribe to Amran to issue permits for her companies PT CCM and PT HIP in Bukal subdistrict, Buol.
The regent has also been named suspect in the case and has been detained by the KPK for allegedly accepting the bribe.
Hartati, a senior politician in President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party, denied that she had offered Hendarman a job.
“That is a lie and slander,” Hartati told reporters after undergoing another session of questioning with KPK investigators on Wednesday.
Hartati also denied that Hendarman solved her land disputes with the local administration. “I didn’t know anything until I read the newspaper today. Please don’t slander people who don’t know anything,” she said.
KPK spokesman Johan Budi said that information or statements that emerged in the investigation could be used against suspects in court. “We take into consideration all kinds of information, but we need to verify it too,” he said on Wednesday.
Johan also said that the commission had no plan to summon Hendarman as a witness in the their investigation of Hartati.
On the allegation, Herdarman said that he was once offered a commissioner position in a company owned by Murdaya Poo, Hartati’s husband.
Herdarman said that the offer was made when he was still attorney general in September 2010, and that he heard nothing about the proposal thereafter. “If I were a director, there should have been a document about it,” Herdarman said, as quoted by tempo.co.
The President appointed Hendarman, a childhood friend of First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, to serve as the head of the graft-plagued BPN in June to replace Joyo Winoto, who has been implicated in a separate high-profile graft case.
Yudhoyono said that he appointed Hendarman to lead the BPN so the senior prosecutor could use his expertise in solving land-acquisition disputes. “I found Hendarman suitable to fill the post to settle legal problems in the sector.”
Hendarman’s tenure as attorney general came to an abrupt halt last year, after the Constitutional Court ruled that the presidential decree on his appointment was
Critics have said that Hendarman’s performance in combating graft as attorney general was lackluster. (cor)