Friday, February 01, 2013

Indonesia names Islamic party chief as graft suspect

Indonesia's anti-graft agency is investigating suspected corruption by the head of the country's largest Islamic-based party, which is part of the coalition government, his lawyer said Thursday.

The Corruption Eradication Commission took the chairman of the Prosperous Justice Party, Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq, in for questioning late Wednesday as he was attending a meeting, said Ishaaq's lawyer Zainudin Paru.

"He's still being questioned," Paru told AFP, saying that under the law the commission would have to wait until Friday to decide whether to formally detain Ishaaq.

The commission said Ishaaq was suspected of accepting bribes from meat importer PT Indoguna Utama to secure a government contract.

Its spokesman Johan Budi said investigators confiscated one billion rupiah ($102,000) in cash from a car belonging to his aide.

The anti-graft body concluded there was "sufficient evidence of corruption" against Ishaaq, he said.

"LHI is involved in this case. We suspect the one billion rupiah was for LHI," Budi said, referring to Ishaaq by his initials.

The Prosperous Justice Party has three ministers in President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's cabinet.

Yudhoyono's second presidential term, won on a fervent corruption-fighting platform, has been dogged by investigations into several members of his Democratic Party and coalition government.

Communication and Information Technology Minister Tifatul Sembiring of the Prosperous Justice Party said Thursday on Twitter that his party "respects the legal process" which is underway.

"We hope the process will take place in a just and honest manner based on prevailing laws and not influenced by political pressure," he tweeted.

The Prosperous Justice Party was founded after the 1998 fall of the Suharto dictatorship.

It has become the country's fourth-biggest party overall due partly to its clean and pious image in the mainly Muslim archipelago of around 240 million people.-Interaksyon (January 31, 2012 11:38PM)

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