Tuesday, 14 October 2008

KPK questions lawmakers on forest conversion

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

KPK questions lawmakers on forest conversion

Irawaty Wardany , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta Tue, 10/14/2008

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Monday questioned 10 more members of the House of Representatives Commission IV overseeing forestry in connection with a graft case involving the conversion of protected forest area in Banyuasin, South Sumatra, to the Tanjung Api-api seaport.

The KPK has named commission members Yusuf Erwin Faisal, Sarjan Tahir, Al Amin Nur Nasution and businessman Chandra Antonio Tan as suspects in the case.

Sarjan and Al Amin are currently on trial in the bribery case.
The KPK questioned as witnesses Azwar Chesputra, Suswono, Robert Yoppi Cardinal, Sumiati, Imam Syuja', Fachri Andi Leluasa, Mufid A. Busyairi, Markum Singo Dimejo, Indria Octavia Muaja and Djoemad Tjiptowardoyo.

The KPK said the 10 were among recipients of Rp 5 billion (US$506,945) paid in cash by Chandra to secure a contract to build the seaport.
"I was quizzed as a witness in the graft case, in which Chandra Antonio Tan has been named suspect," Azwar told reporters.

During the trial of Sarjan last month, the Corruption Court heard that Azwar had received Rp 450 million from Chandra between 2006 and 2007.
The court also learned that Azwar had accompanied Al Amin and Sarjan to a meeting on the conversion plan also attended by Chandra in October 2006.

However, Azwar of the Golkar Party said he had only received Rp 100 million, which he had given to the KPK about seven months ago.

Prosperous Justice Party legislator Suswono said he had handed over some Rp 300 million to the KPK in November 2006 upon discovering the money had originated from Chandra.

Suswono said he had received the money from Yusuf in two deliveries and that he had never met with Chandra.

"I did not know him (Chandra) and had never met him because I never joined in on any trip to South Sumatra," said Suswono.

KPK spokesman Johan Budi said the witnesses were questioned to gather more information in the case.

Last week, the anti-graft body questioned three other Commission IV members in connection with the case.

The KPK has arrested six House legislators this year.