Jakarta. A senior government official arrested by the national antigraft agency in a sting operation earlier this week claims that the alleged bribe money found in his possession was destined for charity.
Antonius Tonny Budiono, director of sea transportation at the Ministry of Transportation, said the Rp 20 billion ($1.5 million) in cash was earmarked for several charities, including churches and orphanages.
"I make donations to orphanages. I also donate to churches and schools that need to be repaired," Antonius said at the headquarters of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in Jakarta on Friday (25/08).
He emphasized that neither his superior, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi, nor other ministry officials had been involved in the alleged bribery.
"I take full responsibility," Antonius said.
He admitted to having misappropriated money received from businessmen working on projects for the ministry's sea transportation division.
"I apologize to the public; hopefully this won't happen again," Antonius said.
During his arrest on Wednesday night, members of a KPK task force found 33 suitcases containing a total of Rp 18.9 billion in US dollars, euros, pounds sterling and Malaysian ringgit.
Antigraft investigators also seized four ATM cards from three different banks, one of which had a balance of Rp 1.2 billion.
Antonius is suspected of having accepted bribes from Adiputra Kurniawan, a commissioner at dredging and reclamation contractor Adhi Guna Keruktama, which was bidding for a Transportation Ministry contract to dredge sand from Tanjung Mas Port in Semarang, Central Java.
Minister Budi appointed Bay M. Hasani, a former director of sea traffic and transportation at the ministry, as acting director on Thursday to replace Antonius.