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Less than 24 hours after he was named a graft suspect, Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng tendered his resignation from his ministerial post on Friday to focus on his legal problems.
Speaking to the press after his meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono following his resignation, Andi said he didn’t want to become a liability to the Cabinet.
“After the KPK [Corruption Eradication Commission] slapped the travel ban on me, I believe I’m unable to perform my duties effectively anymore. I also don’t want to become a liability to the Cabinet,” Andi said at his office.
This unprecedented move was hailed by Yudhoyono who said that Andi’s decision was a good example of responsibility shown by someone who was tangled in a legal case.
“After carefully examining his [Andi’s] written resignation proposal, I accept and approve his resignation,” the President said.
Yudhoyono appointed Coordinating People’s Welfare Minister Agung Laksono as acting youth and sports minister.
Andi has also relinquished his position as a secretary of the Democratic Party’s board of patrons.
Andi’s status as a suspect was revealed late on Thursday by a KPK letter requesting that the Immigration Office impose a travel ban on the minister and also his younger brother Zulkarnain “Choel” Mallarangeng and M. Arif Taufiqrahman, the head of construction with PT Adhi Karya, the company that won the graft-ridden Hambalang project.
In the letter it was written that Andi was banned from leaving the country due to his status as “a suspect”.
KPK chairman Abraham Samad officially announced Andi’s status on Friday, making him the first active minister to be named a graft suspect.
Andi was named a suspect after KPK investigators examined information from Dedy Kusdinar, the first suspect in the case. Dedy was the chief of the ministry’s financial and internal affairs bureau.
Abraham said the KPK believed Andi abused his authority in order to enrich himself contrary to Articles 2 and 5 of the anticorruption law. The articles stipulate a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.
Abraham, meanwhile, described both Choel and Taufiqrahman as witnesses. “We will summon the two witnesses some time around Monday or Tuesday next week,” he said. “And after we complete their questioning then we will summon Andi.”
The KPK launched its investigation into the Rp 1.17 trillion (US$121.68 million) Hambalang project in Bogor, West Java, in late 2010, after it found irregularities relating to when the project was handed over from former sports minister Adhyaksa Dault to Andi in 2009. After Andi assumed control, the planned site was changed and the budget swelled significantly from Rp 125 billion to Rp 1.17 trillion.
The KPK has also opened a preliminary investigation into illicit funds that were allegedly streamed to other benefactors. The KPK has questioned more than 60 people including Andi and Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum.
Former Democratic Party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin has repeatedly accused Andi and Anas of accepting money from the project. Nazaruddin claimed Anas used his share to pay for his campaign for the party chairmanship in Bandung in 2010. Nazaruddin has also accused Choel, Andi’s brother, of brokering projects in the ministry, including the Hambalang project.
Paramadina University political analyst Yudi Latif said the Hambalang issue was being used to distract the public from the Rp 6.7 trillion Bank Century bailout issue implica-ting Vice President Boediono.
“With this action, Yudhoyono can regain his reputation as a figure who diligently wants to eradicate corruption. On the other hand, I think this move has a pragmatic aspect. The progress made in the Hambalang case came amid escalating pressure on the Century case,” he said.
• June 21, 2011
From his hideout in Singapore, former Democratic Party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin claims Andi Mallarangeng was involved in scandalous projects and irregularities at the Youth and Sports Ministry worth over Rp 75 billion (US$7.8 million).
• Aug. 15, 2011
KPK launches preliminary investigation into Hambalang case.
• Dec. 22, 2011
KPK questions Nazaruddin for the first time about Hambalang.
• Jan. 16, 2012
Mindo Rosalina Manulang, a director of one of Nazaruddin’s firms, testifies that Andi gave approval to Nazaruddin to handle the Hambalang project.
• Feb. 17, 2012
During the trial of Nazaruddin, lawmaker Mahyuddin testifies that he once heard Andi thank Nazaruddin for telling the minister that the land certificate for Hambalang project was ready.
• April 13, 2012
Nazaruddin testifies that Andi accepted money from Mahfud Suroso who received the funds from PT Adhi Karya.
• May 23, 2012
Nazaruddin testifies that Andi accepted Rp 20 billion from PT Adhi Karya in relation to Hambalang. The money was given through “Choel” Mallarangeng.
• May 24, 2012
Andi is questioned by the KPK for 10 hours. He denies any wrongdoing.
• July 19, 2012
KPK names Dedi Kusdinar, the head of the financial and internal affairs bureau of the Youth and Sports Ministry, as the first Hambalang suspect.
• Oct. 31, 2012
An investigative audit by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) reveals that Andi and Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo are responsible for the misuse of Hambalang funds.
• Dec. 6, 2012
KPK names Andi as a suspect and imposes travel bans on Andi.