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PCR business debacle: Minister Luhut Pandjaitan talks about audit

Tempo - November 15, 2021

Adam Prireza, Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan on Monday responded to news about non-governmental organization ProDemokrasi that planned to report him to the Metro Jaya Police on the suspicions of running businesses related to PCR tests. The NGO initially planned to file the report on Monday at noon.

His firmly challenged the accusations, saying he was ready to be audited, "I have told you before, just conduct an audit," he said on November 15 at the Metro Jaya Police headquarters.

Luhut said he was nonchalant about the plan and insisted that the accusations linking him to PCR test businesses must be based on data rather than "rumors or feelings."

"We must learn to speak with data, not with feelings or rumors," said Luhut, who lamented that dealing with such accusations is just a waste of time. "This is exhausting, just for the sake of popularity. It would be done with an audit."

According to information spreading across mass media workers, ProDem plans to file a report against Luhut Pandjaitan and SOEs Minister Erick Thohir.

Previously, Head of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) Mohammad Arsjad Rasjid spoke out about the PCR test business controversy that arose in the past week. In an interview, Rasjid claimed he initiated the idea of forming PT Genomik Solidaritas Indonesia (GSI) in April 2020. This company oversees its subsidiary GSI Lab that offers services in PCR swab tests and antigen-based tests.

Tempo Magazine (Nov 1-7) issued a cover story on the government's mandate of the use of PCR tests for air travelers. Not only did the investigation mention Arsjad, it also mentioned Luhut Pandjaitan who had shares in a company that was affiliated with GSI. However, Arsjad in a later interview claimed that he was the one who invited Luhut into the business scheme along with other colleagues.

Luhut's spokesperson Joi Mahardi in an interview said the minister's involvement in GSI was a form of social solidarity to help provide the public with COVID-19 tests in large quantities, which included PCR tests.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1528706/pcr-business-debacle-minister-luhut-pandjaitan-talks-about-audi