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Jakarta Post

Luhut says he backed Meikarta because he thought permits 'were all done'

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, October 17, 2018   /   12:19 pm
Luhut says he backed Meikarta because he thought permits 'were all done' Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan (fourth left) speaks at the topping-off ceremony of Meikarta's first two towers on Oct. 29 last year in Bekasi, West Java. (Tribunnews.com/Jeprima)

Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said he attended the Meikarta topping-off ceremony last year because he was unaware of any problems regarding the issuance of permits for the new city development in Bekasi, West Java.

The mega project, planned on 5,400 hectares of land in Cikarang, is in the spotlight after the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested and named as suspects Bekasi Regent Neneng Hasanah Yasin and Lippo Group operational director Billy Sindoro, as well as several other top officials in the administration, for their alleged roles in bribery relating to the issuance of property permits for the project.

“There are a lot of permits that I don’t know about. When I asked about [the matter], [they said] there was no problem with the permits,” Luhut said at the State Palace on Tuesday as quoted by tribunnews.com.

On Oct. 29 last year, Luhut said that he asked Lippo CEO James Riady about the permits and that James had told him they were all done. Immigration Director General Ronny F. Sompie and Democratic Party secretary-general Hinca Pandjaitan also attended the topping-off ceremony.

Luhut said he would let the KPK investigate the matter. 

Besides Neneng and Billy, the KPK also named as suspects two consultants working for Lippo Group, Taryudi and Fitra Djaja Purnama, the company’s employee Henry Jasmen, Bekasi Public Works and Housing (PUPR) Agency head Jamaludin, the agency’s spatial planning head Neneng Rahmi, the administration’s fire agency head Sahat MJB Nahar and Capital Investment and One-Stop Integrated Services (DPMPTSP) Agency head Dewi Tisnawati. 

Billy is accused of promising a commitment fee to Neneng Hasanah worth Rp 13 billion (US$858,468). (foy)