Kharishar Kahfi, Jakarta – The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has named North Lampung Regent Agung Ilmu Mangkunegara a suspect in a bribery case related to projects at two agencies in the regency, following a series of arrests on Sunday and Monday.
Deputy KPK chief Basaria Panjaitan told journalists that the antigraft body suspected Agung of having accepted bribes pertaining to construction projects handled by the regency's trade agency as well as the public works agency.
Three projects at the trade agency worth up to Rp 5.99 billion (US$423,406) are being investigated by the KPK.
Businessman Hendra Wijaya Saleh, who owns the company that won the tender for the projects, allegedly handed over bribes to the regency's trade agency head Wan Hendri. Hendri was later suspected of giving money to the regent through the latter's aide Raden Syahril.
"HWS [Hendra] allegedly gave WHN [Wan] Rp 300 million, who later gave Rp 240 million to RSY [Raden]. Investigators later found and confiscated Rp 200 million from the regent's bedroom," Basaria said during a press briefing on Monday evening.
KPK investigators also seized Rp 440 million from inside Raden's car and house. The money is suspected to have come from businessman Chandra Safari who worked on at least 10 projects handled by the public works agency between 2017 and 2019.
Basaria added that Agung allegedly asked Syahbuddin, the head of the regency's public works agency, for a 20 to 25 percent fee from the value of every project handled by the agency. The agency head was accused of asking for the fee from Chandra.
"We suspect Agung of accepting the illicit money pertaining to projects in the public works agency three times this year between July and October, amounting to a total of Rp 1 billion," she added.
Apart from the regent, the antigraft body also named Hendra, Hendri, Raden, Syahbuddin and Chandra suspects in the case.
The antigraft body launched a series of raids on Sunday and Monday morning in North Lampung regency, in which they arrested seven people including Agung. The investigators confiscated Rp 728 million during the operation.
Agung is the 119th regional head to be arrested by the KPK in relation to corruption allegations since the commission was formed in 2002. The antigraft body has repeatedly warned regional officials to follow the rules in handling projects.
"We also suggest that regional heads not be reluctant to make any decision as long as they are not linked to any promises of commitment fees or bribes. We can determine whether a regional head commits corruption or is committed to running their administration with integrity," Basaria said.