National

Another PKS politician
implicated in beef scandal

A Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) lawmaker says he previously owned the car used by graft suspect Ahmad Fathanah when he was caught accepting a Rp 1 billion (US$102,743) bribe.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) questioned PKS lawmaker Jazuli Juwaini on Thursday in connection with his role in the beef import bribe scandal at the Agriculture Ministry.

Jazuli, a member of the House of Representatives Commission VIII on religious and social affairs, is the latest politician from the Islamist party to be implicated in the case.

Jazuli said that he sold his car, a Land Cruiser Prado, to Ahmad last year when Jazuli was running for governor in Banten in 2012.

“I bought it for Rp 900 million. I sold the car because I needed money. It turned out the person who wanted my car was Ahmad Fathanah,” Jazuli told reporters before he was questioned.

Ahmad, a close aide to former PKS chairman Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq, reportedly paid Jazuli Rp 600 million for the car.

KPK spokesman Johan Budi said that the vehicle was confiscated by investigators when the commission took Ahmad into custody at the Le Meridien Hotel in South Jakarta earlier this year.

According to the commission, beef importer PT Indoguna Utama allegedly bribed then-PKS chairman Luthfi through Ahmad to win a government contract.

Luthfi has been accused of using his influence to rig the beef import contracts at the Agriculture Ministry, which is led by another PKS politician, Suswono.

Investigators found Rp 980 million in the car and another Rp 20 million in Ahmad’s pockets when he was found in a hotel room with a college student identified as Maharani Suciyono.

The commission charged Ahmad with corruption and money laundering for his role in the scandal, claiming that investigators had evidence that Ahmad’s wealth had been amassed illegally.

Other than the Land Cruiser, which is still registered to Jazuli, the KPK confiscated another three cars reportedly owned by Ahmad: a black Toyota FJ Cruiser, a white Alphard and a black Mercedes Benz.

Jazuli denied he was involved in the scandal, stating he had only been questioned by the KPK as to the ownership of Ahmad’s Land Cruiser.

Several PKS politicians, including Suswono and party secretary-general Taufik Ridho, have been questioned by the KPK about their roles in the scandal, which has tarnished the party’s previous reputation for integrity in the public’s eye.

PKS leaders have claimed that the charges leveled against its former chairman were political and aimed at discrediting the party ahead of the 2014 elections.

Others have said that Ahmad, who reportedly had five wives and eleven children, had never been a member of the party, claiming to know very little of him, except that he was an acquaintance to Luthfi.

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