Anti-graft commission extends detention of DP chairman till election day

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has decided to extend the detention of former Democratic Party (PD) chairman and graft suspect Anas Urbaningrum until election day on April 9.

Anas has been detained by the KPK since Jan. 10 this year, after being named as a suspect for his alleged involvement in the high-profile graft scandal surrounding the Hambalang sports complex project.

"Anas' detention has been extended by 30 days," KPK spokesperson Johan Budi said on Friday.

Firman Wijaya, one of Anas' lawyers, criticised the KPK for suspiciously extending his client's detention until voting day, insinuating that the move was politically motivated.

Anas maintained that the case against him was engineered by his political rivals within the Democratic Party, which is now led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The president took over the party's leadership last year after Anas resigned as PD chairman following his naming as a corruption suspect.

Carel Ticualu, another of Anas' lawyer, said that his team had asked the KPK to bring Anas to court before the legislative election to prevent his case from being politicized.

On Friday morning, Anas was questioned again by KPK investigators regarding the Hambalang case and several other graft cases. The KPK only questioned Anas for 30 minutes as he had an appointment with his dentist to treat a toothache.

Anas has been charged with accepting a gratuity in the form of a Toyota Harrier car from Hambalang project tender winner PT Adhi Karya.

KPK investigators also accused Anas of accepting Rp 2.2 billion (S$244,000) from the same company to fund his campaign during the PD congress in 2010, during which he was elected PD chairman.

The KPK recently announced that it has charged Anas with money laundering in addition to a number of corruption charges already leveled against him.

Anas told journalists after the questioning that he had known that he would be charged with money laundering by the KPK,

He claimed that he was informed by an anonymous person whom he said was "powerful" and "special" within the KPK "Someone who is deemed powerful gave that information to people on the ninth floor [KPK detention centre] of KPK headquarters", he said.

On Friday, the KPK also summoned Eva Dwi Yulianti, a Tebet branch manager for state-owned PT Bank Negara Indonesia, to be questioned as a witness related to Anas' money laundering case, and Untung Raharjo, an architect, as a witness for the Hambalang case.

On the night when KPK named Anas as a money laundering suspect, Johan Budi said the KPK was currently tracing Anas' assets and Anas had allegedly laundered his ill-gotten money during his time as a commissioner at the General Elections Commission from 2001 to 2005. According to the 2003 law on money laundering, Anas could face a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Anas is also being investigating by the KPK regarding allegations of bribery in laboratory equipment procurement at Airlangga University, Surabaya, and vaccine procurement at PT Bio Farma Bandung.