Muhammad Aulia, Jakarta – The younger brother of Communication and IT Minister Johnny Gerald Plate has returned Rp 534 million ($35,000) in cash he allegedly took from a government agency at the center of the ongoing corruption investigation into a telecommunication project, a senior prosecutor said on Wednesday.
Gregorius Alex Plate has allegedly received the fund from the Information and Telecommunication Accessibility Agency, or BAKTI, which is under the ministry led by Johnny.
The agency is currently the subject of a corruption investigation by the Attorney General's Office over fraudulent procurement of base transceiver stations.
"The money is sourced from BAKTI. We cannot confirm if it has connections with the [procurement] project but we know the money is from the BAKTI budget," said Kuntadi, the investigation director of the AGO's special crime division which handles corruption cases.
Kuntadi added investigators will soon meet to gather and discuss all information and depositions, a process where the next phase of the investigation will be decided, possibly with the naming of new suspects.
Earlier in the day, the minister underwent questioning at the AGO in South Jakarta concerning the graft case.
Johnny said he was interrogated as a witness. "I answered questions from the AGO during the questioning from the morning to the afternoon. I delivered testimonies from what I know and understand about the case as a witness," Johnny told journalists.
He declined to answer more questions from the media, arguing that the case is being investigated by prosecutors.
AGO spokesman Ketut Sumedana said prosecutors are investigating the payment to Johnny's brother.
"He has no formal ties to the ministry so we are investigating why he received the payment or if his brother has instructed [for the payment]," Ketut said.
The AGO has named five suspects in the case.