Anti-corruption agency raids Indonesian home minister's office

The antigraft body stepped up its investigation into a case surrounding the Rp 6 trillion (US$516 million) national electronic identity (e-ID) card program.

INDONESIA- The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) raided the office of Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi on Wednesday, as the antigraft body stepped up its investigation into a case surrounding the Rp 6 trillion (S$55 billion) national electronic identity (e-ID) card programme.

KPK spokesman Johan Budi said Gamawan's office was one of the four locations targeted by KPK investigators on Tuesday. Johan declined to comment if the raid would soon be followed by Gamawan being named a suspect in the case.

"From the raids, investigators seized both physical documents and electronic files," Johan said, refusing to give more details.

On Tuesday, the KPK named Home Ministry director of citizen administration information management Sugiharto a suspect in the case.

He was accused of committing malfeasance, given his authority as the official in charge of the e-ID card project when the alleged crime took place. KPK investigators charged Sugiharto with articles 2 and 3 of the 2001 Corruption Law, in conjunction with articles 55 and 64 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) on collective and continuous crimes.

The use of KUHP articles implies other parties may have played a role in the case, but so far, Sugiharto is the only named suspect.

KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto said investigators could summons Gamawan. "He could be summoned if investigators required information from him."

Bambang said the state lost more than Rp 1 trillion in the procurement of the e-ID card programme in 2011 and 2012.

"State losses resulting from the project are steep. Our preliminary estimate showed the state lost around Rp 1.1 trillion," he said.

He said money from the projects could have gone to a number of individuals and firms.

Bambang revealed they rigged the project through markups, direct appointments and the distribution of kickbacks.

It was graft convict and former Democratic Party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin who disclosed graft practices in the project.

Nazaruddin said the project had a 49 per cent markup, amounting to Rp 2.5 trillion, of which Rp 1.77 trillion was distributed in kickbacks to the House of Representatives, the Home Ministry and the winners of the tender.

Nazaruddin added that as much as Rp 250 billion, taken from five companies about to participate in the tender, was given to a number of lawmakers at the House to secure the project's approval in the House. Nazaruddin claimed he had acted as the project's executor in the House.

He also accused Gamawan of nepotism, for allowing a company owned by one of the minister's "close colleagues" to win the tender.

Following Nazaruddin's revelation, Gamawan filed for defamation against Nazaruddin in August last year.

Responding to the raid, Gamawan said KPK investigators did not search his office, only Sugiharto's.

He added that KPK investigators only visited his office and he voluntarily gave documents required for the investigation.

"I've given all necessary documents to the KPK investigators. I already prepared the documents for them," he said.

Gamawan also maintained that no foul play had taken place in the project and "the ministry had followed all the proper procedures."

He said the procurement committee followed procedures by asking prices from vendors before the ministry set its Temporary Estimates of Price (HPS).

Gamawan said he told the KPK about the price twice before the procurement project began. (gda)