The Jakarta Post
A piece of the Kiswah, the cloth used to cover the Kaaba, which was confiscated from former religious affairs minister Suryadharma Ali, was a popular item at an auction conducted by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Wednesday.
Bids for the Kiswah, which started at Rp 22.5 million (US$1,570), rose quickly. It was finally sold to an entrepreneur from Malang called Muhammad Jufri Saad, who outbid all comers with a Rp 450 million offer.
“We intend for this to be part of our collection at home. Thankfully, we got this [Kiswah] for only Rp 450 million. The price in Mecca is much higher,” he told kompas.com on Wednesday.
Jufri, who has participated in seven KPK auctions, said he had set his sights set on the Kiswah since last week.
“I won’t sell it to anyone else. I will frame it and put it in my house,” he said.
In 2016, Suryadharma was convicted in a case relating to the embezzlement of the country’s haj fund, which resulted in Rp 13 billion (US$899,340) in state losses.
The prosecutors at the Corruption Court told the panel of judges in 2015 that Suryadharma had received the piece of the Kiswah from a Saudi Arabian businessman. The businessman, Cholid Abdul Latief Sodiq Saefudin, gave it to the minister in exchange for the ministry’s approval for Cholid’s houses in Mecca to be used by Indonesian pilgrims. The prosecutors said the Kiswah was special because it was made with golden thread.
The KPK regularly auctions off assets seized from graft convicts in an attempt to recover state losses. (dpk)