Monday, 13 October 2008

Lawmaker admits accepting money in alleged forestry graft

Monday, October 13, 2008 11:31 PM

Lawmaker admits accepting money in alleged forestry graft

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta Mon, 10/13/2008

Azwar Chesputra, a Golkar Party lawmaker, admitted Monday accepting Rp 100 million (US$10,200) in an alleged bribery in the conversion of a protected forest in South Sumatra.

"I didn't accept Rp 325 million and Rp 125 million. I only accepted Rp 100 million and I have submitted the money to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK)," Azwar told reporters after a questioning session with the anti-graft body earlier in the day.

The KPK is stepping up its investigation into the alleged bribery which involves lawmakers of House Commission IV, which oversees forestry, agriculture and fisheries.

They are accused of receiving a total of Rp 5 billion (US$510,000) for issuing permits to convert the protected forest into a seaport.Azwar said he accepted the money in two installments, the first at the end of 2006 and the second in mid-2007. He declined to say who gave him the money or to name other lawmakers who also accepted money in the permit issuance process.

Separately, KPK spokesman Johan Budi said KPK investigators had yet to decide whether the money the lawmaker had received was related to the forest conversion approval. (dre)