Ilham Octafian, Jakarta – The Corruption Eradication Commission, known as the KPK, has arrested a senior official from the Bintan Free Trade and Port Zone Authority on charges of manipulating data related to cigarette distribution on the island.
This manipulation is said to have resulted in a substantial loss of Rp 296 billion ($19.4 million) in unpaid cigarette excise duties to the state.
Den Yelta, the head of business affairs within the special economic zone, stands accused of also receiving bribes totaling Rp 4.4 billion from various cigarette companies, according to Asep Guntur, the Investigation Director of the KPK.
The alleged bribes were aimed at influencing the allocation of cigarette quotas in favor of these companies.
The discrepancy in question involves the allocation of duty-free cigarette sticks. Bintan and Tanjungpinang were meant to receive a quota of 51.9 million sticks, yet Den allegedly requested a significantly higher quota of 359.4 million sticks, marking a staggering 693 percent difference, Asep said.
The investigation revealed that Den had not adhered to proper calculation methods when determining a reasonable cigarette quota for the island, which is situated near Singapore. Instead, she unilaterally decided on the quota based on assumptions, without involving competent staff members in the process.
The KPK initiated the investigation into potential corruption related to cigarette excise duties in Bintan, within the Riau Islands Province, starting from March.