Indonesia’s energy minister named graft suspect


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Indonesia’s energy minister named graft suspect


(UPDATE) Energy Minister Jero Wacik – the third cabinet member to be named a graft suspect – is expected to tender his resignation immediately

JAKARTA, Indonesia (UPDATED) – Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik has been named a graft suspect by the country’s powerful Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), officials announced on Wednesday, September 3.

KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto told a press conference their investigation found evidence the minister was involved in extortion activities in the ministry that generated about IDR9.9 billion ($840,000) in illicit funds.

Jero, according to Bambang, had ordered people in the ministry to raise funds for him, such as by carrying out fictitious meetings or soliciting kickbacks from procurement activities and consulting services. 

The announcement came a day after KPK Chief Abraham Samad told reporters they had found sufficient evidence to implicate Jero – whom he described as having a “lust for lavish living” – in several extortion cases.

The case involving Jero stems from the August 2013 arrest of Rudi Rubiandini, the chief of upstream oil and gas regulator SKKMigas, for taking bribes. Rudi, who was recommended by Jero for his position, was jailed in April for 7 years.

The investigation into Rudi led to the arrest of the energy ministry’s secretary general Waryono Karno, who is then believed to have misused funds on orders from Jero.

Energy Ministry Secretary General Teguh Pamudji told MetroTV Jero would submit his resignation immediately. 

Though he hasn’t been arrested, Jero is banned from traveling abroad, KPK said. 

‘Alarming for Democrats’

Jero is the third minister from the current cabinet and the latest high-profile member of the ruling Democratic Party to be named a suspect by KPK, which has a 100% conviction rate in Jakarta.

“This is quite alarming for Democrats,” Democratic Party chair Syarief Hasan told Metro TV.

But when contacted by Rappler, Syarief said Jero’s actions were personal in nature and had nothing to do with the ruling party.

“We support KPK in processing this case transparently. We also thank KPK for implicitly stating that the case has nothing to do with the Democratic Party,” he said

Former Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng, also from the Democratic Party, was jailed for 4 years in July over a $40-million corruption case.

In May, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali quit after being accused of misusing funds that were supposed to help Muslims go on pilgrimage to Mecca. 

Yudhoyono has ruled in a coalition with several other parties for the past decade, but in October will step down to make way for Joko Widodo, who is seen as a clean leader and has pledged to root out corruption. – with a report from Agence France-Presse/


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