Thursday, 23 April 2009

KPK grills key lawmakers on forestry corruption

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Thu, 04/23/2009 10:21 AM | National

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is questioning three lawmakers of the House of Representatives' Commission IV for Forestry, Fisheries, and Agriculture in relation to a bribery case centered on the conversion of 600 hectares of a protected forest.

Johan Budi, KPK spokesman, told journalist that the anti-graft body questioned on Thursday, Commission IV chairman Ishartanto of the National Awakening Party (PKB), and commission members Suswono and Syamsu Hilal, both of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

“The lawmakers are questioned as witness for suspect SO,” he said.

KPK had named former South Sumatra governor Syahrial Oesman a suspect for allegedly asking businessman Chandra Antonio Tan to provide Rp 5 billion (US$417,536) to members of the to speed the approval of the forest conversion in Banyuasin, South Sumatra.

The Rp 5 billion was later paid in two installments. The first payment was made in October 2006 by Chandra, who handed over Rp 2.5 billion in traveler's checks to legislator Sarjan Tahir at the House.

Of that amount, Sarjan took Rp 150 million, Yusuf Erwin Faishal Rp 275 million, Hilman Indra Rp 175 million, Azwar Chesputra Rp 325 million, and Fachri Andi Leluasa Rp 175 million, while several other legislators received between Rp 25 million and Rp 170 million.

The second installment was made in June 2007 at a hotel in Jakarta.

This time, Sarjan took Rp 200 million for himself, Yusuf took Rp 500 million, Hilman Rp 260 million, Azwar Rp 125 million, Fachri Rp 235 million. Several other legislators also took a share of the money.

Yusuf is standing trial at the Corruption Court for his role, while Sarjan and legislator Al Amin Nur Nasution, who received Rp 5 million, were sentenced to eight and four years in prison, respectively.

Chandra is also standing trial for bribing the House members. (dre)