Regent stands trial for graft
The Jakarta Post
The Medan Corruption Court in North Sumatra commenced on Wednesday the trial against Mandailing Natal regent Hidayat Batubara.
The regent allegedly accepted a bribe of Rp 1 billion (US$88,000) from a construction firm to secure a tender to build the Panyabungan General Hospital.
At the opening hearing, which was presided over by judge Agus Setiawan, a prosecutor from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) read out the indictment against Hidayat.
Based on the indictment, Hidayat had violated Law No. 20/2001 on corruption.
KPK prosecutor Supardi said Hidayat had received a kickback from businessman Surung Panjaitan which, according to the indictment, was part of a fee to secure Surung winning the hospital project, which was worth Rp 32 billion.
Supardi said the funds used to build the Panyabungan General Hospital were taken from North Sumatra's subordinate region assistance (BDB) budget for 2013.
He said funding from the provincial BDB budget had been allocated to Mandailing Natal regency to cover the construction costs of the hospital.
He added that in order to secure the project, Surung made an initial payment of Rp 1 billion to the defendant via the acting head of the Mandailing Natal Public Works Agency, Khairul Anwar
Khairul then handed the money over to Hidayat in a parking lot at the Aryaduta Hotel in Medan on May 13.
'The defendant was aware that the Rp 1 billion paid to him was a bribe on the understanding that Surung, who owned PT Sige Sinar Gemilang, would be appointed to carry out the hospital build,' Supardi said at the hearing.
He explained that KPK investigators seized the bribe money after raiding Hidayat's private residence on Jl. Sei Asahan, Medan.
Based on the evidence, KPK investigators arrested Hidayat at the home of a lawyer at the Laut Dendang Veteran Complex in Deli Serdang regency on May 15.
In response to the indictment, Hidayat, who spoke with The Jakarta Post after the trial, said the money he had received from Khairul was a loan.
Hidayat denied the money was a bribe to secure Surung's company the tender to construct the Panyabungan General Hospital.
KPK prosecutors also named Khairul and Surung as suspects in the case. Their trials began on Monday.
All three trials have been adjourned until next week when witness testimonies will be heard.
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