The Jakarta Post
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators have failed in their attempts to confiscate five cars parked at the Prosperous Justice Party's (PKS) headquarters.
Investigators attempted to seize the cars, which they believe are linked to the beef graft scandal, on Monday night, to no avail due to resistance by security staff at the party's headquarters on Jl. TB Simatupang in South Jakarta, KPK spokesman Johan Budi said.
'We only managed to seal them and put up KPK lines,' he said.
On Tuesday, they made another attempt to seize the cars, but were again blocked by security officials and a group of people who denied the investigators entry to the building.
The KPK believes the cars could have been purchased by Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq, the former PKS chairman at the center of the scandal, using illegally obtained money, though PKS officials claimed that some of the cars belonged to the party or other party members.
The cars are a VW Carravelle, a Mazda CX9, a Toyota Fortuner, a Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and a Nissan Navara. PKS legislator Refrizal said Luthfi only owned the Mazda.
'Luthfi has clarified that he bought the car through installments. He was a member of the [House of Representatives] Commission I and traveled a lot. Maybe the balance of [his allowances] was used to buy
a car,' Refrizal told reporters.
PKS spokesman Mardani Ali Sera, however, said the cars did actually belong to Luthfi. He stressed that the party was not trying to obstruct the KPK's work, merely that the KPK should show a warrant for the seizure.
'As long as it is done in a proper manner, we will not get in their way. The procedure is actually very simple, before attempting to confiscate [the cars], the KPK should first present a notification letter, which they have failed to show,' Mardani said.
Johan said that the investigators did bring a warrant.
The KPK has charged Luthfi and his close aide, Ahmad Fathanah, with corruption and money laundering for their roles in the scandal, which centers on the issuance of beef import permits through the Agriculture Ministry, which is led by PKS politician Suswono.
New details in the case show that the Islamic party might have benefited from illegal acts allegedly committed by Luthfi and Fathanah. It has been alleged that Fathanah channeled funds to the party to finance the election campaign of Makassar Mayor Ilham Arif Sirajudin when he ran for governor of South Sulawesi.
Ilham, who was backed by the PKS, said after his questioning in Jakarta on Monday that Fathanah was the person who introduced him to the party. 'It is said that the money transferred from the party's provincial chapter is part of [Fathanah's] laundered money,' he said.
Previously, the KPK investigators said that Luthfi might have used bribe money to finance the party's election campaign in North Sumatra. Luthfi, through Fathanah, allegedly asked Maria Elizabeth Liman, president director of meat import company PT Indoguna Utama, to finance his trip to the province.
Maria, who has been named a suspect in the case, allegedly promised to fund the party's campaigns if it helped her secure a higher import quota from the Agriculture Ministry.
The KPK on Tuesday questioned PKS chairman Anis Matta's brother, Saldi Matta, as a witness for Fathanah and Luthfi. Johan said the KPK also planned to summon PKS consultative council chairman Hilmi Aminuddin for questioning. Hilmi is believed to be the most powerful man in the Islamic-based party.
The party has distanced itself from Fathanah. 'He is nobody. He is neither a member nor a party official. He claimed to know PKS members, we are outraged. Ahmad Fathanah is a criminal, a broker.'
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