The Jakarta Post
New testimonies have provided more evidence confirming 'unethical' meetings involving Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman Abraham Samad and politicians from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
After previously summoning PDI-P acting secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto to elaborate on his surprising revelation of a 'secret' meeting with Abraham, which the latter had earlier denied, lawmakers grilled PDI-P senior politician Tjahjo Kumolo, the party's former secretary-general, and Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto in his capacity as a former coordinator of the Team-11, which was tasked to assess potential candidates to run with President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo in the election last year.
The hearing with members of the House of Representatives Commission III overseeing legal affairs, human rights and security on Monday affirmed Hasto's explanation; it also revealed more names of PDI-P politicians with whom Abraham had conducted meetings.
In the hearing, Supriyansah, Abraham's friend who hosted the meeting at the former's office at the Capital Residence Apartment in Sudirman Central Business District, added the name of PDI-P's Maruarar Sirait on the list of politicians that had met Abraham there.
Supriyansah, however, claimed that he had no knowledge of what Abraham and Maruarar discussed during the meeting; in the same testimony he told Commission III about all meetings in his apartment office.
'I went to my room, which was located around 5 meters from the meeting room as soon as I picked up the guests and led them there,' Supriyansah said.
During the meeting, he also reiterated such remarks to respond to lawmakers' queries about the presence of Miss Indonesia Elvira Devinamira at his apartment to meet Abraham.
Although the Monday hearing was expected to clarify the PDI-P's accusation of a lobbying effort by Abraham to secure a position as Jokowi's running mate in the 2014 presidential election, it failed to do so as none of the witnesses confirmed that such was the case in their explanations.
Even though Tjahjo concurred with Hasto's previous testimony that Abraham did tell him the latter had helped PDI-P treasurer Emir Moeis, who was implicated in a graft case in connection with a geothermal power development project in Lampung in 2004, get a lenient sentence in a bribery case last year, the Home Affairs Minister denied that Abraham discussed anything that related to his vice-presidential ticket.
'It's an informal meeting. It's normal for politicians to conduct informal meetings with anyone,' Tjahjo said, emphasizing that it was the only informal meeting he had with Abraham.
'As a politician, I too will meet anyone, be it criminals, officials, etc. And I often do this,' Tjahjo said further to defend his move in responding to Abraham's request to meet.
He later recited his statement for self defense when lawmakers grilled him for 'unethically' meeting Abraham let alone discussing graft cases.
Meanwhile, Andi too mentioned nothing about Abraham's vice presidential lobbying.
Andi told Commission III that he coincidentally met Abraham at the VIP lounge of Adi Sucipto Airport in Yogyakarta when accompanying Jokowi on his way to campaign in the city.
According to Andi, the meeting later developed into a visit to Abraham's mother and wife, which was part of the assessment process for Abraham's potential candidacy to run with Jokowi.
'But I did not detail the nature of the visit either to Pak Abraham or his mother and wife,' Andi said.
Commission III will set up a working committee to further examine the new testimonies revealed on Monday following the confirmation of such meetings that Abraham had previously denied.
'We will not hesitate to withdraw our support for him [Abraham] if he is later proven to have misused his authority,' Commission III chairman Aziz Syamsuddin of the Golkar Party said.
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