MPR speaker faces more questions from KPK
The Jakarta Post
For the second day in a row, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) grilled People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Zulkifli Hasan, this time as a witness in a graft case involving Riau Governor Annas Maamun.
The KPK on Wednesday questioned Zulkifli, a former forestry minister, for his alleged role in the land-conversion permit abuse case implicating Annas.
On Tuesday, Zulkifli was grilled for 10 hours for his alleged role in issuing permits for a luxury housing project in Bogor, West Java.
'He came to KPK headquarters and we will question him as a witness regarding AM [Annas Mamun],' said KPK spokesperson Priharsa Nugraha.
After an eight-hour questioning session, Zulkifli revealed that the KPK investigators had asked him about his main responsibilities as forestry minister, as well as those of high-ranking officials at the ministry.
'Their questions were very technical. I also explained spatial planning ' I told them that spatial planning in Riau was an achievement because the project was incomplete for a very long time,' Zulkifli told reporters.
Zulkifli, a member of the National Mandate Party (PAN), expressed his disappointment at being dragged into a corruption case so soon after leaving office.
He also denied approving the land-conversion proposal filed by Annas.
'It's true that the governor submitted a request for a land-conversion permit to me, which I then gave to my inspector general for consideration, but he never gave me his opinion of the permit, so it did not have my approval,' Zulkifli said.
The antigraft body arrested Annas and palm-oil businessman Gulat Manurung, who was also chairman of the Indonesian Oil Palm Farmers Association's (Apkasindo) Riau chapter, in a raid on Sept. 27.
As part of the operation, KPK investigators also seized S$156,000 (US$124,770) and Rp 500 million allegedly given by Gulat to Annas in exchange for a land-conversion permit for Gulat's oil palm plantation business.
The permit allowed the conversion of Gulat's 140-hectare oil palm plantation in Kuantan Singingi regency in Riau into a non-forest area or area for other use (APL).
Spokesperson Johan Budi said that the KPK would charge Annas with Article 12 or Article 11 of the 1999 Corruption Law, which prohibits state officials from accepting bribes. Gulat, meanwhile, would be charged with Article 5 or Article 13 of the law for his role as the bribe-payer.
Two weeks ago, Annas told KPK investigators that Zulkifli, in his capacity as forestry minister, had issued a permit to convert the area into a non-forest area.
The KPK has also questioned M. Prakosa, Zulkifli's predecessor, who led the ministry from 2001 until 2004.
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