Saturday, 18 October 2008

'Bribes were my money': Azirwan

Saturday, October 18, 2008 The Jakarta Post

'Bribes were my money': Azirwan

JAKARTA: Suspended Bintan administration secretary Azirwan has claimed that the Rp 2.25 billion (US$230,000) he distributed to various lawmakers was his own money.

"The total amount that was disbursed to the House of Representatives members (to smooth the way for conversion of protected forest) was Rp 2.25 billion. That came from my personal savings that I got from my business (before serving as the Bintan secretary)," Azirwan told the Corruption Court on Friday in his testimony at the bribery trial of dismissed legislator Al Amin Nasution.

Azirwan said that before serving as Bintan secretary, he did some work as a mediator between foreign companies that needed fishing licenses from local companies.

"I decided to use my own money because I did not see any other way to get the House's permission for the forest conversion because the Bintan administration did not have any budget for that," he said.

Azirwan has been sentenced to 30 years in jail for bribing members of the House Commission IV on forestry and agriculture, including Al Amin.

The Bintan administration was planning to convert 8,300 hectares of a protected forest into a commercial area. --JP