Democratic Chairman Anas Defiant After New KPK Grilling

By webadmin on 08:53 pm Jul 05, 2012
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Rizky Amelia & Ezra Sihite

The Corruption Eradication Commission interrogated Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum for a second time on Wednesday, while another Democrat admitted to helping find land used for the West Java sports stadium at the center of the scandal that has threatened to take down Anas.

After investigators for the anti-graft commission known as the KPK questioned him for a few hours, Anas said he had never staged meetings with officials from Adhi Karya, the state company that was awarded the contract to build the Hambalang sports complex in Bogor.

“I was asked [by investigators] whether I had met Adhi Karya officials. I replied ‘never,’ ” Anas said.

Former Democratic Party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin was the first to accuse Anas of taking bribes in exchange for rigging the tender for the Rp 2.5 trillion ($267.5 million) project by awarding it to Adhi Karya.

Last week, Nazaruddin said Anas’s Toyota Harrier SUV was one of many payoffs the latter got from the company.

“Adhi Karya took Rp 700 million in cash and gave it to Duta Motor [a car importer],” Nazaruddin said at the time. “Afterward, there was a BPKB [motor vehicle ownership certificate] under Anas’s name.”

Ever since Nazaruddin was named a corruption suspect in relation to a construction project in South Sumatra, he has pointed the finger at Anas time and again, accusing him of rigging several projects in exchange for kickbacks.

Separately on Wednesday, Ignatius Mulyono, a member of the Democrats’ advisory council, said he had used his influence as a member of House of Representatives Commission II on domestic affairs to expedite land use permits for the Hambalang project, although he insisted that it did not constitute any wrongdoing.

Ignatius said both Anas and Nazaruddin had asked him to talk to officials from the National Land Agency (BPN) about the permit. The BPN issued the land use permit shortly thereafter.

“Anas just said thank you, but Nazaruddin was ecstatic. Anas was calm,” he said.

He added: “I don’t know why people are making a fuss [about the permit]. The real question is why the Rp 125 billion budget [for Hambalang] suddenly ballooned to Rp 2.5 trillion.”

Anas’s lawyer, Firman Wijaya, said his client had already refuted Nazaruddin’s allegations during questioning sessions with antigraft investigators.

According to Nazaruddin, Anas used the Rp 100 billion worth of the bribes he received to fund his campaign to become the Democratic chairman.

Analysts have pointed to the cases embroiling Anas and Nazaruddin as the main factor for the party’s startling decline in popularity. When the Democrats won a majority in the House in 2009, anticorruption was their main platform.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono recently said publicly that corrupt party members should step down from their posts, and senior Democrat Ruhut Sitompul said the president’s statement was directed at Anas.