Minister questioned over
Hang them high: Activists rally outside the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Friday to show their support for the investigation into the Rp 2.5 trillion (US$257 million) Hambalang sports center project. The masks show former Democratic Party chief Anas Urbaningrum, one of four people named suspects by the KPK. Protesters say he should be hanged if found guilty. (Antara/Wahyu Putra)
A minister and senior Democratic Party official claims he was misquoted when the media reported that he knew Anas Urbaningrum would be named a suspect in the Hambalang graft case.
Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Syarifuddin Hasan made the claim during a flurry of allegations that the Democratic Party was directly involved in the leak. The classified document in question outlined charges against Anas.
After his interrogation by a panel set up by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) at their headquarters in Kuningan, South Jakarta, the minister said no party members knew anything about the KPK’s charges against Anas.
Anas has accused his political foes of using the KPK to oust him.
Syarifuddin made his ambiguous statement after a party meeting at President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s residence in Cikeas, West Java, on Feb. 7.
“The truth is I was asked by the reporter whether I had heard about Anas being named a suspect. And I answered, ‘oh really? We will just wait then’,” he said.
When asked what he would do if the reporter had recordings to back up his claim, Syarifuddin said, “That’s what I remember. We’ll see.”
Anies Baswedan, the head of the KPK ethics panel, exlpained that Syarifuddin was questioned because he made the comment a day before the leaked sprindik was widely published.
A sprindik is a letter authorizing a full investigation into a case.
The leak has been linked to the power struggle in Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party. A few days before the document appeared in the press, the President publicly suggested that the KPK should decide whether to clear or charge Anas.
The action was seen by some observers as outright interference with a KPK investigation.
The panel has questioned two KPK commissioners — Busyro Muqoddas and Zulkarnain — and plans to speak to KPK czar Abraham Samad at a later date. Abraham has been accused of being the source of the leak.
The sprindik was signed by Abraham, Zulkarnaen and commissioner Adnan Pandu Praja, who claims to have retracted his signature on discovery that investigators had yet to conduct a case exposé on Anas’ case.
The KPK chief denies the allegation and says he is ready to face the ethics hearing.
The ethics panel has already questioned a TV reporter and some KPK officials, including the head of the Hambalang investigation.
The panel, which consists of Anies; Abdul Muhfti Fajar; KPK commissioner Bambang Widjojanto; former KPK chairman Tumpak Hatorangan Panggabean and former commissioner Abdullah Hehamahua, plans to summon two more reporters for questioning. “Based on the findings of the internal investigation, they know in detail how the document was leaked,” Anies said.
Anies implored reporters to come clean on what they knew about the leak and not protect their sources within the KPK. “The sources [who spoke to the reporters about the document] have already spoken to us. So the reporters should not worry [about protecting the sources],” Anies said.
The panel cannot compel reporters to reveal sources.
If the panel finds evidence of wrongdoing, it will hand the case to another authority. “If there is any element of criminality, the case will be transferred to a law enforcement agency,” he said on Tuesday.
The panel has not decided whether the case should be dealt with by the National Police or the Attorney General’s Office (AGO).
Paper Edition | Page: 1
Selected comments will be published in the Readers’ Forum page of our print newspaper.