Social Affairs Minister Julari Batubara was named as a suspect in a million-dollar bribery case by the anti-graft agency,Indonesia. He is the second cabinet to be blamed as a suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission over the past few weeks. The first minister was from the Fisheries Department Eddy Probow in a separate case though.
Juliari and two officials are suspected of taking bribes over the acquisition of goods worth 5.9 trillion rupiah ($420 million) to be distributed as COVID-19 social assistance packages, as per the agency chief Firli Bahuri.Some suspects were arrested in a sting operation on Saturday in the capital, Jakarta, where the agency found cash of 14.5 billion rupiah, or $1.03 million, Firli told a news briefing.”The money was stored in seven suitcases, three backpacks, and in envelopes,”. Suitcases of cash were put on display at the briefing.
Two more suspects are private citizens.Juliari was being questioned and will be taken into custody, said agency spokesman Ali Fikri.President Widodo said, he had continually warned ministers and regional leaders to avoid corruption and close loopholes for graft.That social assistance is really needed by the people and I will not protect those involved in corruption,” he said in a video statement today. He also added ,“And we all believe that the KPK works in a transparent, open, professional manner and the government will continue to consistently support efforts to prevent and eradicate corruption.”
The social affairs ministry will give the anti-graft agency full access to information needed for its investigation, said senior ministry official Hartono Laras.Widodo was elected in 2014 on a pledge to fight graft and several prominent politicians have been jailed for corruption, but concern has nevertheless grown that the anti-graft agency’s influence has weakened during his ownership.