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Gov't dismisses graft allegations in aborted plan to buy Mirage fighter jets

Jakarta Globe - February 12, 2024

Andrea Hosana & Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – The Defense Ministry on Tuesday categorically denied reports suggesting suspected corruption in the planned procurement of 12 second-hand Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets, calling them a hoax.

The procurement plan, valued at around $790 million, was ultimately abandoned due to budget constraints, Vice Defense Minister Muhammad Herindra told a news conference at his office in Jakarta.

He refuted allegations claiming that the procurement of used Mirage jets from Qatar was brokered by the private defense company Teknologi Militer Indonesia.

These statements emerged in response to reports circulating on various local news websites about suspected bribery linked to the procurement, originating from a now-deleted English article posted on the MSN web portal on Friday.

"Those reports are misleading and slanderous – they are simply a hoax," Herindra said. "The plan to procure Mirage 2000-5 jets was canceled due to fiscal constraints."

Herindra asserted that the corruption narrative was fabricated by certain parties for "short-term political gains."

Celebrity lawyer Hotman Paris Hutapea, representing the ministry, questioned the credibility of the growing media reports on the aborted procurement plan.

"The transaction was ditched, so there was no way bribery could occur – no sale and purchase means no kickback," Hotman told the same news conference.

The procurement proposal was initially introduced by Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, who is presently a presidential candidate in the upcoming election scheduled in the next two days.

However, the government later withdrew the plan, opting to refurbish existing fighter jets while awaiting the delivery of 42 new Rafale jets from the French defense company Dassault Aviation.

Prabowo's campaign team swiftly labeled the corruption reports as a malicious attempt to discredit his candidacy.

Habiburokhman, a legal team member in Prabowo's campaign, announced on Sunday that he was considering legal action against individuals or organizations that first published the false reports.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/govt-dismisses-graft-allegations-in-aborted-plan-to-buy-mirage-fighter-jet