Fifteen sitting and former Muara Enim councilors are named graft suspects and presented during a news conference at the KPK building in Jakarta, December 13, 2021. (Fana Suparman)

Fifteen Sitting and Former Councilors Named Graft Suspects En Masse

BY :FANA SUPARMAN

DECEMBER 13, 2021

Jakarta. The Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, named 15 members and former members of the Muara Enim Legislative Council in South Sumatra as suspects on Monday in the lead-up to graft conviction against their district heads.

The 15 suspects dressed in orange vests were presented at the KPK building during a news conference on Monday.

The court has earlier convicted Muara Enim District Head Juarsah and his predecessor Ahmad Yani guilty of corruption.

Altogether, 26 sitting and past councilors including former council speaker Aried HB have been named suspects since the KPK began to probe the corruption case last year.

The councilors are accused of taking Rp 5.6 billion in bribe money from businessman Robi Okta Fahlevi who sought to win projects from the Muara Enim Public Works and Housing Department in 2019, KPK Deputy Chairman Alexander Marwata said.

Robi was awarded several projects worth Rp 129 billion by the district government with the council’s approval “under an agreement that he would spare 10 percent of the amount as kickbacks for Muara Enim government officials and those suspects”, Alexander said.

"Robi Okta Fahlevi allegedly paid those councilors Rp 5.6 billion, while Ahmad Yani received Rp 1.8 billion and Juarsah took Rp 2.8 billion," he added.

Ahmad was arrested in April last year and later sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. His appeal backfired after the Supreme Court upheld the verdict and increased his jail term to seven years in January.

As the legal battle deprived him of power, his deputy Juarsah was promoted as district head but he himself was also implicated in the case in less than two months after taking leadership. He was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison last month.

Muara Enim was left without a leader until district secretary Nasrun Umar was installed as district head in May.

Robi, the businessman, has been sentenced to 3 years behind bars.

Five councilors who managed to be reelected are among the suspects, including Agus Firmansyah, Ahmad Fauzi, Mardalena, Samudera Kelana, and Verra Erika. The remaining suspects served in the council during the 2014-19 term.
 

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