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Jakarta Post

Meikarta bribery case: Bekasi officials allegedly used funds for Thailand trip

  • Arya Dipa

    The Jakarta Post

Bandung   /   Wed, January 23, 2019   /   04:00 pm
Meikarta bribery case: Bekasi officials allegedly used funds for Thailand trip Illustration of a construction site. (Shutterstock/File)

The Corruption Eradication Corruption (KPK) has accused members of the Bekasi Legislative Council (DPRD Bekasi) of using money embezzled from the Meikarta mega city project for a trip to Thailand.

“We have identified more than 20 members of DPRD Bekasi who went on the trip to Thailand,” said KPK spokesperson Febri Diansyah on Tuesday as quoted by tempo.co.

The antigraft body suspected that the councillors had taken along relatives for the three-day journey last year to beaches and various tourist spots in Thailand.  

A portion of the funds were also allegedly allocated to the vacationers as spending money.

Febri, however, refused to reveal the identities of those who reportedly went on the trip, as the antigraft body was still looking for evidence.

Some of the councillors, he said, had admitted to accepting bribes from the Meikarta project and returned the money to the KPK. It has collected about Rp 180 million from the councillors.  

Bekasi Regent Neneng Hasanah Yasin, the administration's officials and members of the council have been dragged into a massive corruption case pertaining to the construction of the modern city project, a flagship project of property giant Lippo Group.  

Neneng has been accused of accepting Rp 7 billion (US$480,373) from the group’s operational director, Billy Sindoro, to influence the issuance of permits for the project. Billy allegedly promised Rp 13 billion as a “commitment fee” for the regent.

Bekasi Public Works Agency special planning division head Neneng Rahmi , who is also a suspect in the case, elaborated on the alleged roles of councillors and administration officials during a hearing at the Bandung Corruption Court on Monday.

She said Sulaeman, faction head of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) at DPRD Bekasi and another party politician, Waras Warsito, who is a member of the West Java Legislative Council, had met to expedite the deliberation of Bekasi’s new detailed spatial plan (RDTR), which was to serve as a legal basis for the mega construction project that would consist of business, industrial and housing areas.

Neneng said in the meeting, held in December 2017 at a rest stop on the Purbaleunyi toll road, also involved West Java provincial secretary Iwa Karniwa, then-Bekasi Public Works Agency secretary Hendry Lincoln and Neneng herself.

“Hendry Lincoln invited me to meet with West Java secretary Iwa [to question the slow progress of the RDTR’s finishing at the provincial level]. The meeting was mediated by Sulaeman and Waras,” Neneng said in the hearing.

During the meeting, Neneng claimed Iwa had asked for Rp 1 billion (US$70,503) to accelerate the RDTR issuance. She then reportedly asked for the money from project developer PT Lippo Cikarang.

It has been claimed that the developer had agreed to the request and sent the money in two installments via Hendry and Sulaeman in late 2017. Only Rp 900 million was reportedly sent to the West Java secretary, as the remaining Rp 100 million was said to have been given to West Java councillor Waras, who initiated the meeting.

Neneng also said she had paid for the Thailand trip because she had thought the company would reimburse the expenses.

“I was asked to immediately accommodate the councillors’ request for a trip to Thailand. I borrowed money from my husband to pay for the trip, as Lippo vowed to reimburse me by the time the RDTR was finished,” she said in front of the panel of judges.

Regent Neneng previously admitted that the councillors had gone on the trip while the RDTR’s deliberation was ongoing at the Bekasi council. (vny)