The nation’s top antigraft body questioned media tycoon Hary Tanoesoedibjo on Friday as a witness in a corruption case implicating an official from his firm.
The case revolves around East Java tax official Tommy Hendratno and tax consultant James Gunarjo, who have been accused of graft involving tax receipts from Bhakti Investama, where Hary is the president director.
Tommy and James were arrested last week at a restaurant in Tebet, South Jakarta, where they were allegedly transacting a bribe. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) seized an envelope filled with more than Rp 280 million ($30,000) during the arrest.
Tommy and James are being held on charges of violating multiple articles of the Anti-Corruption Law.
Tempo magazine reported that Tommy had been under surveillance by the KPK since 2011 in connection with his handling of Bhakti’s tax obligations.
Quoting a source inside the KPK, the magazine reported that Tommy, who was head of tax supervision and consultancy at the Sidoarjo tax office in East Java, used his position to award Bhakti a Rp 3.4 billion tax rebate based on the company’s claim that it had paid more than it owed. The source said Tommy had been promised a Rp 340 million kickback, 10 percent of the rebate, and that the money seized at the restaurant was just the initial payment.
Following the questioning, Hary dismissed claims that the tax receipts at the center of the case were problematic.
“I paid taxes of Rp 1.2 trillion for the MNC group,” he said, referring to his media company Media Nusantara Citra.
“How is that a problem on the part of my group? I don’t see any problem.”
He called on the media to not jump to the conclusion that officers in his company were involved in corruption.
“There are certain media outlets, both print and electronic, that have pronounced Bhakti guilty [of corruption],” he said at the KPK offices on Friday.
He added that he was scheduled to return to give further testimony on June 28.
“We have to support [the anticorruption drive],” he said. “Any allegations have to be fully investigated and as a law-abiding citizen, I will do my part to inform authorities of what I know.”
On Friday, the KPK also continued questioning the two suspects, James and Tommy, KPK spokesman Johan Budi said. Four other tax officials — Fery Syarifuddin, Heru Munandar, Hani Masrokim and Agus Totong — were also questioned.