The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested Riau Islands Governor Nurdin Basirum and five others during a meeting at the governor’s residence in Riau Islands on Wednesday evening.
The five individuals have been identified as a regional leader, the regional administration’s maritime affairs agency head and businesspeople.
The KPK apprehended Nurdin for reportedly accepting SG$ 6,000 (US$ 4,422) in bribes from the businesspeople in exchange for a land reclamation permit. The governor, along with the others, have been transferred to the Tanjungpinang Police station for further questioning.
"Investigators also seized S$6,000 [US$4,419]. We suspect the illicit transaction was related to the issuance of a permit for a reclamation plan in Riau Islands," KPK spokesperson Febri Diansyah said in a statement.
He added that KPK investigators alleged that money had been handed over prior to Wednesday's arrest.
Riau Islands administration legal head Heri Mokhrizal said the local environment agency head was among those arrested by the KPK, according to information he received from administrative staff on Wednesday evening.
“From what I’ve gathered, the environment agency head was apprehended right in front of the governor. I don’t know whether the governor was also arrested,” Heri told The Jakarta Post.
He went on to say that governor Nurdin had spent most his day in Batam, attending an anniversary celebration for the National Police. He said Nurdin returned to Tanjungpinang later that afternoon.
As of Thursday morning, KPK investigators are still interrogating the apprehended individuals. The antigraft body is slated to announce the result of the operation on Thursday afternoon.
Emerging from a political background, Nurdin was became Riau governor in May 2016. He was previously deputy mayor of Karimun from 2001 to 2005. He later served as the regent of Karimun for two consecutive terms, from 2006 to 2011 and from 2011 to 2015. (rfa/dmr)