Reports of ministerial extramarital affair ‘untrue’
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Reports of an extramarital affair involving Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro with a well-known keroncong (Portuguese-Indonesian pop fusion) singer have been deemed as fallacious and slanderous given the lack of tangible proof supporting the allegations.
The conclusion was made given the lack of supporting facts and attributed statements cited in a report published on Friday by The Jakarta Post.
“There has been no single piece of evidence to prove the slanderous allegation,” Purnomo told the Post at his office on Friday in response to the story.
The published report referring to him purchasing a house and a car for the singer were further denied as completely “false”.
“You can check with the PPATK if I really bought a home and car for her because that never happened,” the minister said, referring to the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, a state body with the power to monitor suspicious financial transactions.
Purnomo has been under the spotlight after a biweekly tabloid ran a cover story on his alleged affair with singer Sundari Soekotjo.
However, the tabloid immediately ran a full page correction in its next edition, which included clarification from both Purnomo and Sundari.
Sundari has denied that she and Purnomo had been involved in an unregistered marriage.
“That is a false report and very rude,” she said as quoted by Warta Kota daily.
Sundari said the rumors about her alleged affair with the minister were part of “the challenge of being a public figure”.
On Friday, the Post published a report highlighting a number of alleged scandals involving past and current members of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Cabinet.
Included in the report was reference to allegations of Purnomo’s affair, including information obtained from unnamed sources in the intelligence agency suggesting that Sundari was his mistress.
However, representatives of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) on Friday evening lodged a strong objection against the Post’s reporting and demanded a formal retraction.
Senior BIN officials also denied ever revealing such information to the Post related to the matter or divulging any personal facts about Purnomo.
As evidence of how incorrect these allegations were, Purnomo pointed out that, “she has never [even] come to my office nor been invited as a performer in any event organized by this ministry”.
The minister further contended that if he had engaged in an illicit affair, it would be readily noticed by his subordinates.
“Everywhere I go, I am accompanied by an adjutant. Even my car is always guarded by protocol officers,” said Purnomo, who met the Post accompanied by Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Hartind Asrin and the head of the ministry’s administration unit, Brig. Gen. Herry Noorwanto, on Friday.
“If you have photographs or any other kind of evidence of Pak Purnomo’s alleged affair, please show them to us,” Herry said.
“The report was not only false, but also defamation of the minister,” he added.
Yudhoyono has dismissed a number of his aides for having extramarrital affairs.
Former public housing minister Suharso Monoarfa of the United Development Party (PPP), then transportation minister Freddy Numberi of Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party and mineral resources minister Darwin Zahedy Saleh were all subjected to gossip after reports of their alleged affairs circulated widely on the Internet.