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Disgraced state auditor returns $2 million in stolen money to AGO

Jakarta Globe - November 16, 2023

Ilham Oktafian, Jakarta – Achsanul Qosasi, one of the nine members of the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK), returned to the Attorney General's Office $2 million in cash he allegedly had accepted as a bribe, a top prosecutor said on Thursday.

The move came after the state auditor was named a corruption suspect nearly two weeks ago related to the project to build 4G internet infrastructure in remote areas.

"A team from the Attorney General's Office has successfully recovered $2,021,000 from AQ through an attorney of the suspect," said Kuntadi, investigation director of the office, referring to Achsanul by his initials.

The prosecutor said the bribe money was paid by businessman Irwan Hermawan, who was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison for the same corruption case.

The payment aimed to get favorable audit results on the internet infrastructure project, which was initiated by the Communication and Informatics Ministry, Kuntadi said.

"According to our investigation, AQ was paid as part of attempts to manipulate the BPK audit on the project to build base transceiver stations for 4G internet network," he said.

The high-profile corruption scandal saw Communication and Informatics Minister Johnny Gerard Plate as the main defendant. He has now been sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment.

The fraudulent project cost the state at least Rp 8 trillion, according to an estimate by prosecutors.

Achsanul was confirmed as one of the nine BPK members in a House of Representatives vote in 2019. He is also a prominent figure in Indonesian football, as he owns the top-tier club Madura United and previously held a position within the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI).

In a statement released prior to his arrest, Achsanul denied any wrongdoing and asserted that it was the BPK that initially raised concerns about the internet infrastructure project. According to him, AGO prosecutors had consulted with the BPK during the preliminary investigation into the case.

"We discussed the case with AGO investigators at the BPK office," Achsanul said while promising to become cooperative with investigators.

At least eight defendants, including former Communication Ministry officials, have been tried in connection with the case. Achsanul became the subject of investigation after his name was mentioned by one of the defendants during a court hearing.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/disgraced-state-auditor-returns-2-million-in-stolen-money-to-ag