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Jakarta Post

KPK detains three councilors in Jambi graft case

  • Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, June 24, 2020   /   11:57 am
KPK detains three councilors in Jambi graft case Former Jambi Council speaker AR Syahbandar (left) and deputy speaker Chumaidi Zaidi (right) sit in a car following an interrogation at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) headquarters in Jakarta on Tuesday. The antigraft body arrested Syahbandar, Chumaidi and fellow former councilor Cornelis Buston for their alleged involvement in a bribery case pertaining to the Jambi provincial budget. (Antara/Aprillio Akbar)

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has detained three members of the Jambi Legislative Council for alleged graft in a case that also implicates former governor Zumi Zola Zulkifli.

The three councilors are former Jambi Council speaker Cornelis Buston of the Democratic Party as well as his two former deputies: AR Syahbandar of the Gerindra Party and Chumadi Zaidi of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

The three politicians, who served as councilors between 2014 and 2019, allegedly demanded money from the regional administration in exchange for their approval of the provincial regional budget for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. In addition, they also allegedly demanded kickbacks from projects handled by the provincial administration.

The antigraft body suspects each councilor of accepting between Rp 100 million (US$7,077) and Rp 600 million, KPK deputy chairman Alexander Marwata said.

“The three suspects will be detained for 20 days from June 23 to July 12 at the KPK detention center,” Alexander said during a press briefing on Tuesday, adding that they would be put in quarantine for 14 days as part of the COVID-19 health protocol.

The KPK has charged the three suspects with violating articles 11 or 12 of the 2001 Corruption Law, which prohibit state officials from accepting bribes and gratuities.

Read also: Zumi Zola spent illicit money on Marvel collectibles, says KPK indictment

Alexander went on to say that the antigraft body had named 18 suspects in the case – 12 of whom had been brought to trial. One of them was Zumi, who was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison in December 2018.

Among the suspects were regional administration officials, local council members as well as businesspeople who allegedly involved in the rigged projects.

The case began with a KPK operation in 2017 that led to the arrest of a legislator and three regional administration officials over alleged bribery related to the 2018 provincial budget plan.

Alexander said politics had become one of the most corruption-prone sectors, as the antigraft body had arrested 184 national and regional legislative members since its formation in 2003.

“This is a bad side of our democracy. The KPK strongly urges representatives in the House of Representatives and regional councils not to misuse the public’s trust for personal gain.”