The Jakarta Post
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) will auction off a kiswah, or a piece of cloth that covers the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine in Saudi Arabia’s Mecca, initially owned by former religious affairs minister Suryadharma Ali, who is now serving a prison sentence for embezzling the country’s haj funds.
“The piece of cloth is among the items to be offered in a public auction at the KPK offices on July 25, apart from cars, cell phones and jewelry,” KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah said on Thursday.
The kiswah, a piece of black cloth with golden Arabic calligraphy and measuring 80 by 59 centimeters, is being offered with a reserve price of Rp 22.5 million (US$1,564). Bidders must first register at the Finance Ministry’s Directorate General of State Assets to be eligible to bid on the item.
The KPK had regularly auctioned off assets seized from graft convicts after the case was final and legally binding, as an attempt to recover state losses caused by corruption cases.
In 2016, the court convicted Suryadharma of embezzling the country’s haj funds between 2010 and 2013, causing around Rp 13 billion in state losses.
He was also found guilty of abusing his authority to appoint his relatives as haj assistants and channel haj quota from places intended for pilgrims to his family members and fellow United Development Party (PPP) politicians.
Suryadharma’s case is currently undergoing a review after he filed a petition with the Supreme Court on May 5. (ipa)