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Jakarta Post

Payment of 'uang ketok palu' is tradition, councilors admit to corruption court

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, September 18, 2018   /   12:32 pm
Payment of 'uang ketok palu' is tradition, councilors admit to corruption court Non-active Jambi governor Zumi Zola arrives at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) office for questioning on April 9. He was detained after eight hours of questioning. (Antara/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

In an apparent revelation about the deep-rooted nature of corruption in the country, members of the Jambi Legislative Council (DPRD) have acknowledged that receiving money from executives in the provincial administration is a "tradition".

Four DPRD Jambi members attended on Monday a hearing at the Jakarta Corruption Court as witnesses in the trial of graft suspect and non-active Jambi governor Zumi Zola Zulkifli, who stands accused of channeling Rp 16 billion (US$1.1 million) in bribes to dozens of DPRD members in order to influence the deliberations of the 2017 and 2018 provincial budgets.

During the hearing, M. Juber, a councilor from the Golkar Party, and three others admitted to having received money from the administration, which they referred to as "uang ketok palu" (money for banging the gavel), to pass a decision, kompas.com has reported.

"The [payment of] money is a tradition," Juber told Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors during the hearing.

Juber said councilors would ask the executive for the money regardless of who was governor at the time. The money was given in return for the council passing the budget proposed by the Jambi provincial administration.

Similarly, councilor Mayloedin from the Golkar Party said the term uang ketok palu had been around since 2009, however, it had never been a problem until the KPK launched its investigations in Jambi in 2017.

"[The payments] are like water and flowed smoothly. The storm only arose in 2018," said Mayloedin, who also admitted to receiving money from Zumi related to budget deliberations.

KPK prosecutors have previously claimed that Zumi channeled the alleged bribes through a middleman, Apif Firmansyah, who was Zumi’s treasurer during his gubernatorial campaign.

In addition to the alleged bribery, Zumi has also been accused of accepting unlawful gifts amounting to more than Rp 40 billion in connection to infrastructure projects in Jambi from 2016 to 2017. (afr)