The Jakarta Post
Graft cases in Indonesia follow an all-too-familiar routine: Greying politicians in batik shirts arrive at the front of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) before meeting interrogators.
However, the nation's graft scandals have a new face, following the debut of two adult magazine models and a sexy coed at the commission's headquarters at Kuningan, South Jakarta. The women have been questioned in the KPK's probe of the beef import scandal that has implicated former Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) chairman Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq.
The glamorous ladies of graft include Maharani Suciyono, a lissome 20-year-old college student who KPK investigators found naked in a hotel room with Luthfi's aide, Ahmad Fathanah, after he allegedly accepted a bribe for his boss.
The 43-year-old swimsuit model and film actress Khadijah 'Ayu' Azhari and swimsuit model Vitalia Shesya have also made the rounds at the KPK.
Vitalia, a model for a local men's magazine, was the last to show up at the KPK headquarters on Monday, returning a Honda Jazz car and a Rp 70 million (US$7,210) watch given to her by Fathanah.
'A couple days ago, the KPK confiscated a white Honda Jazz car and a Chopard watch that are allegedly linked to AF [Ahmad Fathanah],' KPK spokesman Johan Budi said, as quoted by Antara news agency.
Vitalia told interrogators during questioning that Fathanah gave the car and the watch as gifts for 'a friend', Johan said.
Fathanah's reputed largesse has few limits: Maharani was allegedly paid Rp 10 million as an escort to accompany Fathanah for two hours as he lingered in the hotel room after he allegedly accepted a Rp 1 billion bribe from two directors of meat importing firm PT Indoguna Utama.
The commission has said that Fathanah was a middleman delivering the bribe to Luthfi, who was expected to use his PKS position to influence beef import quotas at the Agriculture Ministry, which is currently headed by Suswono, a fellow senior member of the PKS.
Last week, the investigation took a salacious turn when Ayu was grilled about her relationship with Fathanah.
During six hours of questioning, Ayu told investigators that Fathanah had offered her gigs to sing at several events during regional elections in West Java and South Sulawesi, according to the KPK.
Two days later, Ayu returned to the commission's headquarters to hand over $1,800 and Rp 20 million in cash that she claimed she received as a down payment from Fathanah for the PKS events.
Separately, several politicians from the PKS, an Islamist party that previously touted its clean and graft-free image, were quick on the defense.
'As far as I know, the PKS never invited Ayu Azhari,' Refrizal, a member of the party's central board, said.
Ayu, a bombshell star known for her bold performances in the glory days of local B-movies in the 1980s, was one of the nation's highest-paid soap opera stars in the early 2000s.
In 2010, she dropped out of the race to be deputy regent in Sukabumi, West Java, after her sex videos circulated on the Internet.
Charta Politika political analyst Yunarto Wijaya said that the exposure of the role that the women have played in the scandal could further contribute to the plunging popularity of the PKS.
'The beef import graft scandal itself has hurt the PKS' image as a clean party. The involvement of women in the case, in particular, will create doubt among the party's supporters, especially those who are devout Muslims,' he said.