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Religious Affairs Minister declared as a suspect on alleged corruption

JAKARTA (Rambu Energy) – Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has declared the Indonesian Religious Affairs Minister Surya Dharma Ali, as a suspect on alleged corruption in hajj funds. Surya Dharma Ali is also Chairman of the Indonesian United Development Party (PPP), a supporter of president candidate Prabowo Subianto.

Spokesperson of KPK Johan Budi said in a press conference in late Thursday KPK has investigate the case for months and has also questioned a number of witnesses.

“Based on the exposition of this case, KPK has declared SDA as a suspect. SDA in this case refers to Surya Dharma Ali, Religious Affairs Minister,” Johan Budi said.

He said KPK has at least two evidences that allow the anti-corruption agency to declare Dharma Ali as a suspect.

When asked whether there are more suspects in the case, Johan Budi said as of today, only one suspect has been declared. However, there is possibility that there will be more suspects depending on the investigation of KPK.

Earlier, Deputy Chief of the KPK Bambang Widjojanto said there are three main focus of investigation in the alleged corruption in the hajj fund case, namely the cost of the hajj pilgrimage, accommodation and the people who are selected to go for hajj free of costs.

In 2013, the Financial Transactions Analysis and Reporting Center (PPATK) reported that there are indications of malfeasance in the management of hajj pilgrimage under the Religious Affairs Ministry.

“We strongly suspect irregularities in the management of the hajj pilgrimage. Currently, we are auditing the cost as we view that the spending was not transparently reported,” PPATKs chairman Muhammad Yusuf said.

Yusuf said in the period of 2004-2012, the operational cost of hajj pilgrimage reached Rp80 trillion, with interest at Rp2.3 trillion.

The declaration of Suryadharma Ali as a suspect certainly is a blow to PPP who has become the first party to support Prabowo Subianto as a President candidate.

Johan Budi however said the decision to declare the Minister as a suspect is nothing to do with political issues. “We work within the boundaries of law. If some people draw this case to political issues, it is up to them to make such connections,” he said. (*)


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