Jakarta – After admitting his role in a bribery case implicating former Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi, retired Indonesian shuttler Taufik Hidayat later claimed that such corrupt practices were very common in the ministry.
Taufik, who won a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, retired as a badminton player in 2013. Between 2016 and 2017, he served as the deputy chairman of Satlak Prima (Gold Program), a national sporting program under the ministry for elite athletes that was dissolved in 2018.
"No matter who serves as the minister, it will never change unless half of the ministry is reformed. It [the ministry] is full of rats [corrupt officials]," Taufik said in an interview with mentalist-cum-YouTube-personality Deddy Corbuzier.
The former shuttler claimed it was very easy for the ministry's officials to embezzle billions of rupiah earmarked for various program, such as through hotel discounts during the national training camp program.
He explained the ministry had to book hotel rooms to house 500 to 1,000 athletes for the program. While a hotel room usually costs Rp 500,000 (US$33.70) a night, the officials can get discounts from booking many rooms at the same time.
"They can embezzle Rp 100,000 for each room, multiplied by 1,000 people a day. The program can last for more than a month. Imagine how much they can get!" said Taufik.
While claiming that he had experienced and witnessed such illicit practices, Taufik added that he had no tangible proof of such crime.
Youth and Sports Ministry secretary Gatot S. Dewa Broto regretted Taufik for making such claims. He went on to say that Taufik had put his name as a badminton legend at stake for accusing the ministry of corruption.
"We are in the fasting month of Ramadan. We forgive Taufik for talking like that. We just need to prove [that he's wrong] by doing our work," Gatot said on Wednesday, as quoted by kompas.com.
During a hearing against Imam last Wednesday, Taufik admitted to the court that he acted as an intermediary in the bribery case implicating the former minister.
Taufik said he had delivered Rp 1 billion to Imam's personal assistant, Miftahul Ulum, in January 2018. Miftahul is also a suspect in the case.
Taufik, however, claimed he did not know that the money was a bribe and denied that he had accepted some of the illicit money in the crime.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) indicted Imam for accepting Rp 11.5 billion in bribes and other gratuities worth Rp 8.64 billion from the ministry and Indonesian Sports Council (KONI) officials pertaining to the disbursement of a state grant for the organization. (nal)