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Cleaning Up the Party

Tempo - October 25, 2019

Jakarta – A senior member of the National Awakening Party has been caught up in a bribery case involving infrastructure projects. The party could be charged with corruption.

This is an opportunity for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to show its teeth once more. Investigators need to get to the bottom of the confession from convict Musa Zainuddin, who has agreed to become a justice collaborator. The National Awakening Party (PKB) has revealed the alleged involvement of senior party members in an infrastructure project bribery scandal.

Musa is now incarcerated in Sukamiskin Penitentiary, West Java after being sentenced to nine years in jail. In the judges' verdict two years ago, he was also ordered to repay Rp7 billion received in bribes. Musa was found guilty of taking bribes from the winner of a 2016 ministry of public works projects for Maluku and North Maluku.

The member of the House of Representatives (DPR) for the previous period officially stated his willingness to help KPK investigators in July. He told them that the rules for allocating infrastructure projects were drawn up on the orders of the DPR Finance Commission deputy chairman Jazilul Fawaid, who is also from the PKB. He told Musa to 'secure' the allocation of projects from the DPR Infrastructure

Musa stated that he only personally received Rp1 billion in bribes from the project contractor. He gave the balance, Rp6 billion, to be passed on to PKB Chairman Muhaimin Iskandar. Musa then asked PKB Faction chairman Helmy Faishal Zaini to inform Muhaimin about the handing over of the money.

The KPK must take advantage of this valuable confession. Investigators should not hesitate to uncover the involvement of senior PKB members even if they occupy important positions. Jazilul is now the deputy speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), while Muhaimin is deputy speaker of the DPR.

Muhaimin appears to have played a role similar to that of Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS) president Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq when he was involved in bribery over beef imports in 2013. Luthfi peddled his influence. The KPK can use the same methods to ensnare him. Like Luthfi, Muhaimin was a member of the DPR as well as the party leader when the scandal unfolded.

If the infrastructure project bribes were paid to the PKB as an institution, investigators should not hesitate to apply the provisions related to corporate crime. Supreme Court Regulation No. 13/2016 provides a clear definition of a corporation, namely an organized assembly of people and/or assets that can be a legal entity or not. The PKB is clearly included in this category.

The infrastructure project bribery case also shows the complex process of uncovering corruption. KPK prosecutors even had to ask for an appeal in the case of Abdul Khoir, the infrastructure project contractor who bribed Musa Zainuddin and a number of other politicians. The problem is that Abdul Khoir, another justice collaborator, received a sentence that was deemed too severe from the first level court. In November 2016, at the appeal level, Khoir’s sentence was reduced from eight years to two and a half years.

There is no need for investigators to wait for President Joko Widodo to take action on the revision to the KPK Law before completing their investigation of the infrastructure project bribery. Given that it is not long since the regulations to weaken the body came into force, investigators should make use take advantage of Musa's confession to investigate those senior PKB members.

Read the Complete Story in this Week's Edition of Tempo English Magazine: https://magz.tempo.co/read/36036/cleaning-up-the-party

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1264279/cleaning-up-the-party