Antara & Novianti Setuningsih
Palu. Investigators from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested Central Sulawesi Buol District Chief Amran Batalipu on Friday for allegedly accepting a bribe linked to a license for a plantation owned by a financier of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The KPK tried to apprehend Amran on June 26 while he was allegedly accepting a portion of the bribe, but the district chief managed to escape.
KPK spokesman Johan Budi SP said the arrest involved dozens of members of the police’s mobile brigade (Brimob) unit from Depok, as Amran was reportedly protected at his home by dozens of guards armed with knives.
Amran allegedly accepted bribes estimated at some Rp 2 billion ($212,000) in exchange for a concession awarded to Hardaya Inti Plantation, a company owned by businesswoman Siti Hartati Murdaya Poo.
On June 26, Amran was reportedly about to receive the second installment from Yani Anshori, the general manager of CCM Plantation, a subsidiary of Hardaya Inti Plantation.
“The first installment [of the bribe] was given a week before the raid last week, and the rest was believed to be paid when the raid took place. But Amran managed to flee with it,” said a KPK source who asked not to be named because the investigation is on going.
Amran managed to escape as a large and aggressive group of his cadre intentionally crashed their car into one of the KPK’s vehicles while the wanted man fled.
The director for the operations of Hardaya Inti Plantation, Gondo Sudjono, also escaped during the raid, but was arrested the next day at Soekarno-Hatta airport.
Hartati has not been named as suspect in the investigation, but the KPK has issued a travel ban for her. She was a major supporter of President Susilo Bambang Yuhdoyono campaign during the the 2009 presidential election. She is also the majority owner of the Jakarta International Expo.
Amran was just up for reelection for the District Chief position in Buol, but trailed in a recent unofficial tally. Amran was reportedly shocked with the results, and accused his opponent of giving Rp 50,000 to voters before the election.
Amran said yesterday — as he was being pursued by authorities — that he planned to file a complaint.
“There were many irregularities,” he said. “I plan to report it to the police.”