The Corruption Eradication Commission has officially charged the former leader of the Prosperous Justice Party, Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq, with money laundering linked to the beef import graft case.
“The investigators suspected there had been efforts to launder and hide the money by changing the ownership [of some assets] therefore they declared LHI [Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq] as a suspect in a money laundering case,” said Johan Budi, the spokesman of the antigraft body known as the KPK, on Tuesday.
Johan said that the KPK had declared Luthfi as a money laundering suspect on Monday and were now tracing his assets to back up the claim.
Luthfi is alleged to have demanded a kickback from beef import company Indoguna Utama for using his influence over Agriculture Minister Suswono to ensure that the company was awarded a lucrative government contract to import several thousand tons of beef this year.
Suswono, also a PKS politician, had been implicated in a case centering on an attempt to rig the awarding of beef import contracts by his ministry.
He allegedly met Luthfi in Medan last month, along with the president director of Indoguna, Maria Elizabeth Liman, and Elda Devianne Adiningrat, the former chairwoman of the Indonesian Seeds Association.
The KPK said that they had no evidence to name Suswono as a suspect in the case and had made no plans to question him again.
Luthfi has been charged by the KPK along with Indoguna executives Arya Abdi Effendi and Juard Effendi, and Luthfi’s assistant, Ahmad Fathanah.
Investigators have questioned Elda, Elizabeth, Luthfi, Ahmad, Arya and Juard, to try and determine the scale of the alleged bid rigging.
While Elizabeth and Elda have not been charged, the KPK have issued travel bans on both women.