The Jakarta Post
Former United Development Party (PPP) chairman Muhammad Romahurmuziy admitted that he had received Rp 250 million (US$17,895) from a bribery convict in connection with a promotion-rigging scandal at the Religious Affairs Ministry.
The politician said former East Java Religious Affairs Office head Haris Hasanudin ─ who has been convicted in the case ─ had handed him the money in February this year, but he decided not to report it to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) right away because he wanted to hide Haris’ “disgraceful” acts.
"There is a saying, “For Muslims who cover up other Muslims’ disgraceful acts, God will hide the former’s disgrace as well.” What Haris did was inappropriate […] but I tried to cover up his [actions],” Romahurmuziy said during a hearing at the Jakarta Corruption Court on Thursday.
He claimed that Haris was backed by East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa and East Java Amanatul Ummah Islamic Boarding School manager Asep Saifuddin Chalim. The latter, Romahurmuziy said, had a vast network with teachers from Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) ─ Indonesia’s largest Islamic group ─ in the province.
Last week, Khofifah testified at the court that she had once received a phone call from Asep to ask Romahurmuziy about Haris' fate so that the latter could be immediately inaugurated as the head of the East Java Religious Affairs Office.
Romahurmuziy proceeded to consult then-religious affairs minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin following Asep's request. After a confirmation that Haris would soon get the position, Haris gave the money to Romahurmuziy, which was delivered to his house. Romahurmuziy, however, denied that he requested the money and asked PPP East Java chapter secretary Didik to return the money, but the latter failed to do so.
"After Haris went home, I counted the money since he told me he gave it as a good deed,” Romahurmuziy said as quoted by tempo.co, “I did not count the money thoroughly, but only the bundles. There are 25 bundles, so [the total] is Rp 250 million.”
“I keep the money in the bag and I thought I would return it [to Haris] when the time is right,” he went on to say.
Haris and Muafaq have already been sentenced to 2 years and 1.5 years of imprisonment respectively after being found guilty in a bribery case.
Romahurmuziy stands accused of receiving bribes alongside Lukman in exchange for a promotion within the ministry and its regional offices.
The two are alleged to have received up to Rp 325 million from Haris as well as Rp 91.4 million from former Gresik Religious Affairs Office head Muhammad Muafaq Wirahadi, both in connection to Haris and Muafaq’s promotions.
Haris and Muafaq have been sentenced to two years and one-and-a-half years' imprisonment, respectively, after being found guilty of giving bribes. (dpk)