Markus Junianto Sihaloho& Ezra Sihite
Legislators have denied withholding funding from the antigraft agency to build a new office because of the alleged involvement of a colleague in an a corruption case.
Nasir Jamil, a deputy chairman of House of Representatives Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, insisted the allegations surrounding the Golkar Party’s Azis Syamsuddin had nothing to do with the lack of approval for the funding.
“Azis’s case is his own business. That’s no concern of ours,” he said on Friday. “If there really is a crime here, the Corruption Eradication Commission [KPK] is welcome to investigate.”
Azis is also a deputy chairman of House Commission III, which is the part of government responsible for discussing funding requests for law enforcement bodies such as the KPK.
He allegedly helped Muhammad Nazaruddin, a graft convict and former legislator, rig a bid for building and renovation work at the Attorney General’s Office worth Rp 567.9 billion ($60.2 million).
Azis’s role in the case was alluded to by Mindo Rosalina Manulang, a former employee of Nazaruddin’s and also a graft convict, but the legislator has not been named as a suspect.
Nasir, from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), said the House had not approved the KPK’s building request because it did not consider it urgent.
“President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called for greater budget efficiency, so if a new building isn’t important, there’s no need to build it,” he said.
He also said law enforcement agencies such as the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) had also applied for building funds, but their requests had not yet been approved. “Of course, we will give due consideration to all these requests,” Nasir said. “We don’t want to appear to be discriminating by approving the KPK’s request and rejecting the others.”
He added that the funding discussions would resume next week.
Eva Kusuma Sundari, a Commission III member from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said the KPK’s request had only been discussed once and that the legislators were split on whether to approve the funding.