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Jakarta Post

KPK looks into large-scale maritime graft

  • Haeril Halim

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, December 16, 2016   /  07:15 am
KPK looks into large-scale maritime graft Big fish: Eko Susilo Hadi (left), an official in charge of information, law and cooperation at the Maritime Security Board (Bakamla), is escorted a car at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) building in Jakarta on Thursday. Eko was arrested on Wednesday in a bribery case involving logistics procurement at Bakamla. (Antara/Hafidz Mubarak A.)

The arrest of Maritime Security Board (Bakamla) deputy chief Eko Susilo Hadi on Wednesday by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) indicates potentially rampant corruption in the country’s maritime security sector, with investigators claiming to have found strong evidence of rigging of the tender for the procurement of sea surveillance satellites worth Rp 400 billion (US$30 million).

The case has also once again put the Indonesian Military (TNI) in the spotlight. The KPK confirmed that Eko, whom the KPK reportedly caught red-handed accepting Rp 2 billion in bribes on Wednesday, had rigged the projects with the help of a one-star TNI general seconded to Bakamla in exchange for kickbacks from businesspeople.

The KPK has kept the TNI general’s identity confidential.

KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo said he had notified the TNI about the finding because the commission did not have the authority to investigate active military officers. The KPK has asked the Military Police to launch a separate investigation into the TNI general, he said.

“The TNI has said it appreciated our information. The military has also granted access for us should it be needed to support our investigation,” Agus told a press briefing on Thursday.

The latest scandal was uncovered just two weeks after the Defense Ministry was rocked by two big corruption cases involving an active TNI general, Brig. Gen. Teddy Hernayadi, who was handed a life sentence for pocketing US$12 million from the procurement of defense weaponry between 2010 and 2014. A mid-ranking Air Force officer, Col. Irwan, has also been named a suspect for allegedly embezzling Rp 25 billion from different defense weaponry procurements in 2014 at the ministry.

Both Eko, who was appointed as acting Bakamla secretary seven months ago from his former post as Bakamla information and legal division head, and the anonymous TNI general, allegedly acted as officials in charge of the surveillance monitoring satellite project.

The bribery case was revealed as Bakamla, dubbed the Indonesian coast guard, was preparing to celebrate its 2nd anniversary on Thursday.

Six KPK investigators arrested Eko at the Bakamla headquarters in Jakarta as he was reportedly accepting Rp 2 billion from three executives of PT Melati Technofo Indonesia (MTI), which won the bidding for the procurement. The three businessmen, Hardy Stefanus, Fahmi Darmawansyah and Muhammad Adami Okta, have also been detained.

According to the KPK, the Rp 2 billion was part of a commitment fee, or kickback, amounting to 7.5 percent of the total value of the project. KPK investigators also subsequently went to the MTI office in Jakarta and arrested another MTI executive, identified only by the initials DSR.

As of Thursday evening, DSR was yet to be named a suspect.

KPK commissioner La Ode Muhammad Syarief said the project was initially not included in the 2016 state budget but Bakamla’s proposal on the procurement was approved when the state budget was revised in June 2016.

“This is a vital project for our defense sector and the corruption in the project has greatly harmed the country’s defense,” Syarief said.

According to the project’s procurement document obtained by The Jakarta Post, Bakamla planned to procure five maritime monitoring satellites to be stationed in Tarakan, East Kalimantan; Ambon, Maluku; Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara; Semarang, Central Java; and Jakarta.

Bakamla spokesman Capt. Mardiono refused to disclose the identity of the TNI general implicated in the case.

Mardiono said Bakamla would support the KPK in completing its investigation.

“It is the commitment of Bakamla to help eradicate corruption,” Mardiono told the Post.

According to him, Eko was a prosecutor from the Attorney General’s Office seconded at Bakamla to fill the position of information and legal division head at the body before being appointed as acting Bakamla secretary.

It is the first graft case to hit Bakamla, an agency created by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in December 2014 to be the country’s first ever coast guard.

Jokowi has lauded Bakamla as an important part of his mission to make Indonesia a “maritime axis” in the region.

 

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