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Jakarta Post

KPK seizes more than $40,000 from religious affairs minister’s office

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 19, 2019   /   09:39 pm
KPK seizes more than $40,000 from religious affairs minister’s office Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin (Antara/Wahyu Putro A)

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) says its investigators have confiscated Rp 180 million (US$12,667) and $30,000 from the office of Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin.

The announcement follows a search of the minister’s office in Jakarta on Monday, shortly after the antigraft body had charged United Development Party (PPP) chairman Muhammad Rohamurmuziy – who has since resigned from that post – with bribery linked to promotions at the ministry helmed by Lukman.

“As a part of our procedures, we are confiscating the money and any relevant documents related to the affairs between the Religious Affairs Ministry and the PPP,” KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah told reporters on Tuesday.

He added that the KPK did rule out a possible link between the two individuals but had yet to conclude its charges, as it was currently verifying other evidence and eyewitness reports.

Separately, PPP vice chairman Arwani Thomafi denied any involvement of Lukman in the graft case implicating Romahurmuziy, saying the money came from “honorarium fees” for guest speaker appearances at various events.

Therefore, he said, the minister had not violated any law to obtain the money.

“Why can’t a minister have hundreds of millions of rupiah?” Arwani told kompas.com. “Just because it amounts to [hundreds of millions of rupiah] does not mean it is money generated from corruption.”

Vice President Jusuf Kalla expressed a similar view, saying such money was a “normal” aspect of ministerial offices.

He added that similar funds would be found at his office if the KPK were to raid his place.

“The cash [found by the KPK] is operational funds […]. It’s typical in every office. There is always cash in case of any important spending,” said Kalla.

In its charges against Romahurmuziy the KPK accuses the politician of accepting a total of Rp 300 million from two Religious Affairs Ministry officials seeking to pass a job selection process at the ministry's East Java offices. (mai)