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State university chancellor arrested for taking payment from new students

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Jakarta Globe - August 21, 2022

Muhammad Aulia, Jakarta – The chancellor of the University of Lampung (Unila) has been arrested for allegedly taking illegal payments from students at enrollment for his personal gains, the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, said on Sunday.

Karomani is accused of illegally taking at least Rp 5 billion from the parents of several students who enrolled in the university through the so-called independent program, in which enrollment is based on the agreed tuition fees to help fund state-run universities.

But the KPK argued that Karomani has misused his authority to take the money for himself and determine the sum above the ceiling rate.

The chancellor was arrested along with six other people during separate operations in Bandung, Lampung, and Bali on Saturday.

During the raid in Bandung, KPK arrested Karomani, his assistant identified as Adi Triwibowo, Unila's public relations bureau head Budi Sutomo, and Unila Senate President Muhamad Basri.

"We also seized ATM cards and bank account books valued at Rp 1.8 billion," KPK's director of investigation Asep Guntur said at a news conference in Jakarta.

In a separate operation in Lampung, KPK investigators arrested Vice Chancellor Heryandi, Engineering Faculty Dean Helmy Fitriawan, and a lecturer identified as Mualimin, Asep said.

KPK seized Rp 414.5 million in cash and a bank deposit receipt amounting to Rp 800 million in the Lampung raid.

Asep said investigators also seized the key of a safe deposit box where Rp 1.4 billion worth of gold bars are allegedly being kept.

The coordinated operations continued in Bali where a businessman identified as Andi Desfiandi was arrested for allegedly bribing Unila executives to get a relative enrolled at the University.

After a night-long investigation, four of them were named corruption suspects, including Karomani, Vice Chancellor Heryandi, Senate President Muhamad Basri, and the businessman.

KPK Deputy Chairman Nurul Ghufron said Karomani played a central role in the illegal payment scheme.

The chancellor set the enrollment fees at between Rp 100 million and Rp 350 million per student, Nurul said.

The average ceiling in the independent enrollment program is well below Rp 100 million in state universities, although the figures may vary depending on the studies and the reputation of the university.

Karomani and his accomplices have collected more than Rp 5 billion in illegal payment, much of which has been used for his personal expenses, Nurul added.

"On Karomani's order, the remaining money was saved in bank deposits, gold bars, and also in cash totaling Rp 4.4 billion," Nurul said.

The chancellor, who was led from the KPK interrogation room in South Jakarta in handcuffs, didn't deny the accusations when confronted by journalists.

"I apologize to the academic community in Indonesia," he said briefly before entering a KPK car heading to the detention facility.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/state-university-chancellor-arrested-for-taking-payment-from-new-student

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