Indonesia religious affairs minister named suspect in graft case

This picture taken on May 20, 2014 shows Suryadharma Ali, Indonesian Religious Affairs Minister also the head of United Development Party (PPP) applauding during a ceremony in Jakarta.

JAKARTA - Indonesia's powerful anti-corruption agency has named the religious affairs minister a suspect in a graft case involving state funds allocated for the haj pilgrimage.

"It is true that the Religious Affairs Minister (has been) named as suspect," spokesman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Johan Budi told reporters late on Thursday.

"There is an indication that the suspect as the Religious Minister violated his authority regarding the haj hosting management process."

The minister, Suryadharma Ali, also heads the country's oldest Islamic party PPP, which recently joined the coalition led by presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto ahead of the July 9 election.

Ali is the second minister in the cabinet of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to be implicated in a high profile corruption scandal. The sports minister was forced to step down in 2012 after being implicated in a graft case surrounding the construction of a sports complex in West Java province.