Removal of ruling party politicians’ names from graft indictment questioned

Source – April 22, 2021
Former social affairs minister Juliari Batubara (right) arrives at KPK for questioning – April 1, 2021 (Antara)

Tatang Guritno, Jakarta – Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) is questioning the disappearance of two names in the indictment against former Social Affairs Minister Juliari Batubara prepared by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) public prosecutor.

ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana said that there are two names which have allegedly disappeared from Batubara's indictment, namely ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politicians Herman Herry and Ikhsan Yunus.

"ICW is asking why in Juliari's indictment the names of politicians who are suspected of obtaining big packets in the procurement of Covid-19 basic commodity social assistance from the Social Affairs Ministry have disappeared, such as Herman Herry and Ikhsan Yunus", said Ramadhana in a press release on Thursday April 22.

Yet, according to Ramadhana, Herry and Yunus were cited in court testimony by the Social Affairs Ministry public bureau chief and Covid-19 social assistance procurement commitment officer for the period October to December 2020 Adi Wahyono.

In his testimony, Wahyono cited four parties who obtained allocations from the procurement of basic commodity packets for Covid-19 social assistance for the Greater Jakarta area in 2020.

"Among them were the Herman Herry group with 1 million packets, Ikhsan Yunus with 400,000 packets, the Bina Lingkungan [program] 300,000 packets and Juliari Batubara 200,000 packets", said Ramadhana.

Given Wahyono's admission, Ramadhana believes that the public prosecutor's indictment against Batubara should not just focus on the acceptance of bribes.

He is also of the view that the prosecutor should also be able to look into uncovering the scandal involving the sharing of kickbacks from social aid procurement.

"Juliari's indictment should not only underline the alleged acceptance of bribes, but must go further, namely uncovering the initial scandal involving the distribution of allocations from the procurement of social aid to various parties", he said.

Ramadhana said that if this does indeed exist, the prosecutor must look at what underlay the procurement of social aid packets received by the two politicians.

"Is there nepotism here? Is it reasonable that they fulfilled the stipulations as social aid providers? Then when they obtained big packets from the procurement of social aid, was a fee deposited by vendors to these big groups", asked Ramadhana.

Based on these reasons, Ramadhana has concluded that at this time the KPK only has the courage to uncover the existing case but is afraid or reluctant to finish it. Ramadhana hopes that the KPK Supervisory Board is willing to step in to investigate the KPK's performance.

"For this ICW is recommending that the KPK Supervisory Board not only be a spectator, but must take the initiative by investigating the problem of the KPK's habit recently of often removing names and the roles of certain parties from indictments", he said.

Herman Herry and Ikhsan Yunus were cited as receiving 1 million packets procured for Covid-19 social aid in a testimony by Adi Wahyono during a trial which took place on March 8.

Yunus meanwhile was dragged into the case because during a reconstruction by the KPK it was discovered that Yunus' intermediary, named Agustri Yogasmara, received 1.352 billion rupiah and two Brompton folding bikes from businessperson Harry Van Sidabukke.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "ICW Pertanyakan Hilangnya Nama Politisi dalam Dakwaan Juliari Batubara".]