Kharishar Kahfi, Jakarta – Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators have apprehended several officials of the Youth and Sports Ministry during an operation in Jakarta on Tuesday night, as they reportedly received kickbacks related to a grant from the ministry to the National Sports Committee (KONI).
KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo confirmed the arrest, saying it took place after graft busters discovered several initial pieces of evidence of the illicit transactions.
"At least nine people were arrested during the operation, consisting of the ministry's deputy, commitment maker and KONI members," Agus said in a statement on Wednesday night, refusing to reveal the identities of the apprehended individuals.
Separately, the ministry's secretary, Gatot S. Dewa Broto, told journalists the ministry's deputy overseeing sports achievement, Mulyana, was among the arrested.
The KPK announced it seized at least Rp 300 million (US$20,767) in cash and a debit card for current accounts amounting to millions of rupiah. Investigators also sealed three rooms in the ministry's building in Jakarta, including the office of the ministry's deputy.
Responding to the arrests, Gatot told journalists the ministry would respect the ongoing legal process. "[These arrests] have caught us by surprise. I have warned every official to not break any laws."
He added that the ministry would be ready to provide legal assistance if any of its officials were named case suspects by the KPK. The KPK is expected to announce their legal status later on Wednesday afternoon. (ggq/swd)