Reportage

Arrest of naked college
student gives new angle
to probe

Getting an education: Maharani exits the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Thursday. The 20-year-old college student was arrested by the KPK in the raid involving the head of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) in the nation’s latest high-profile bribe scandal.(Antara/Rosa Panggabean)
Getting an education: Maharani exits the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Thursday. The 20-year-old college student was arrested by the KPK in the raid involving the head of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) in the nation’s latest high-profile bribe scandal. (Antara/Rosa Panggabean)

Those jaded by the incessant string of politicians arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) may take heart in the latest scandal, involving Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) chairman Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq.

A 20-year-old woman, a college student identified as Maharani, was also arrested by the KPK on Wednesday, leading people to wonder what the woman had in common with the politicians and executives also netted in the arrests.

As details of the incident emerged, it was clear that sex played a role in the bribery scheme.

Ahmad Fathanah, an aide to Luthfi, was arrested by the KPK inside a hotel room — moments after he allegedly accepted a Rp 1 billion (US$103,000) bribe from two directors of PT Indoguna Utama.

After their knocks on the hotel room went unanswered, KPK investigators entered using a spare key, tempo.co reported. Inside they found Fathanah and the 20-year-old woman, naked.

Investigators named Fathanah and Luthfi, as well as the two Indoguna directors, Juard Effendi and Arya Abdi Effendi, as suspects in the case and detained them at KPK headquarters. Maharani was released by the commission on Thursday afternoon.

As Maharani stepped out of the lobby of the KPK headquarters in Kuningan, South Jakarta, photojournalists immediately went to work, snapping shot after shot of the woman, clad in a denim miniskirt and skin-tight black shirt.

Maharani was released after the KPK said there was no connection between her and the bribery scandal, although reports circulated that Fathanah had paid her for sex using part of the alleged bribe.

Soon after Maharani was released, her college, apparently concerned that the woman was a prostitute, expelled her. KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto declined to comment on Maharani’s role in the case.

“We just saw the suspect was with a woman in the room. We then found the money. Then, we knew what to do,” he said.

Bambang also declined to comment when asked if Maharani was paid to have sex with Fathanah as part of the bribery scandal.

Sex, of course, has continued to play a role in Indonesian politics, with lawmakers at the House of Representatives rocked by a series of licentious scandals over the last few years.

In April 2011, PKS lawmaker Arifinto was caught on camera by a journalist watching a pornographic video on his tablet computer during a plenary session at the House of Representatives.

A year later, the legislative body was shocked by the circulation of blurry videos of a couple said to be politicians of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) having sex.

No investigation was launched to prove if the two individuals in the video were indeed the PDI-P politicians.

Although the PKS denied that Fathanah was a party member, his ties with Luthfi might taint the party, which has touted itself as a virtuous Muslim party that has been free of corruption.

Analysts said the possible role of sex in a graft scandal involving a PKS politician would hurt the party.

“The political impact on the PKS will be huge. The party’s performance in the 2014 elections will suffer significantly,” Arman Salam, a political analyst from the Indonesian Survey Circle, said.

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