Saturday, 7 November 2009

Kaban denies receiving Rp 17.6b from Masaro Radiokom

Hans David Tampubolon , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sat, 11/07/2009

Former forestry minister M.S. Kaban has denied receiving Rp 17.6 billion (US$1.8 million) in bribes from communication company PT Masaro Radiokom.

"Please, do not incriminate M.S. Kaban. I have never seen nor received Rp 17.6 billion. I invite the Financial Transaction Report Analysis Center *PPATK* to investigate the alleged flow of funds to me, if it has to," Kaban told in Jakarta on Friday.

Kaban's alleged involvement in the case was made public recently by National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri in a hearing with the House of Representatives' Commission III on legal affairs on Thursday night.

Bambang referred to Kaban when he was describing the police's investigation into the abuse of power and graft allegations implicating Bibit Samad Rianto and Chandra Hamzah, two suspended deputies of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

Chairman of the presidential fact-finding team Adnan Buyung Nasution also mentioned Kaban after the team sought an explanation of the wiretapped conversation between businessman Anggodo and investigators from the police and the Attorney General's Office from the police chief.

Bambang explained the graft charges against Bibit and Chandra stemmed from the bribing of a person identified as MK at the Forestry Ministry.

Gayus Lumbuun, a legislator from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), tried to seek further information from the police chief regarding the acronym of MK, asking whether he was referring to a person identified as MSK. Bambang just smiled in response to the question.

Todung Mulya Lubis, a member of the fact-finding team, concurred and said the KPK fiasco was connected with Anggoro's graft case, which implicated Kaban.

"*The KPK fiasco* has a connection with the Forestry Ministry and the flow of funds, which were said to be deposited in Kaban's account," he said.

Commenting on Todung's remarks, Kaban said he did not understand the case.

Kaban has been linked to several other graft cases dating from his job as legislator in the 1999-2004 period to his latest position as forestry minister between 2004 and 2009.

Kaban was one of at least 45 ex-legislators who, along with former minister of national development planning Paskah Suzetta, received Rp 31.5 billion from Bank Indonesia.

He was believed to have taken bribes for the issuance of forest concessions in many provinces, including Riau and North Sumatra.

Kaban reportedly held a secret meeting with fugitive Adelin Lis in China before the latter was acquitted of charges at Medan District Court. Adelin had been charged with illegal logging and land acquisition in southern North Sumatra.

Kaban, a former Crescent Star Party (PBB) executive and ex-member of the SBY-Boediono campaign team, was also connected with the graft case over the protected forest conversion project in Tanjung Api-Api, Banyuasin, in which several ex-members of the agriculture, plantation and forestry commission at the House of Representatives were imprisoned.

"It all depends on the KPK, as the commission has the authority to investigate the cases," Kaban said.