Maritime Affairs Minister and Legislator Wife Arrested by Anti-Graft Agency
Jakarta. Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo and his wife Iis Rosita Dewi, a House of Representatives member, were among 17 people arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) during separate operations on Tuesday evening and after midnight on Wednesday.
The couple were arrested upon arrival at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Tangerang, Banten, from a trip to Hawaii just after midnight on Wednesday. The commission also made other arrests in separate operations in Jakarta and Depok, West Java hours earlier.
"The KPK arrested 17 people in total, including the maritime affairs and fisheries minister and his wife, and several officials with the ministry," KPK spokesman Ali Fikri said in a news conference.
He said a number of businessmen were among the detainees, but declined to go into details pending preliminary investigation.
Anti-graft officials seized ATM cards from the suspects, he added.
KPK Chairman Firli Bahuri said Edhy is accused of taking bribe after lifting the ban on lobster larvae export imposed by his predecessor Susi Pudjiastuti.
"The minister was arrested at terminal 3 of the Soekrano-Hatta Airport upon arrival from Honolulu. He is alleged to have involved in a corruption case concerning lobster larvae export," Firli said.
Edhy is the third active minister in the President Joko Widodo cabinet to be implicated with a corruption case, after former youth and sports minister Imam Nahrawi and former social affairs minister Idrus Marham.
The latter was convicted guilty of corruption unrelated to his ministerial job, while Imam is serving a jail term for accepting bribe while in office.
The president is making it clear he will not intervene in the legal proceedings against Edhy, who is also an executive with the Great Indonesia Movement Party, or Gerindra.
"I believe the KPK is working transparently, openly and professionally," the president said at his office.
"The government consistenly supports every attempt to prevent and eradicate corruption," he added.
Speaking separately, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud M.D. said the government will cooperate with the KPK during the ongoing investigation.
“The government will never intervene and we allow the legal proceedings to continue according to the existing laws,” Mahfud told reporters at his office.
He said the government doesn’t know yet precisely the graft case involving Edhy, but “whatever it is, the government will support what the KPK is doing right now”.
"We have told the KPK to go ahead and promised our support for any attempt to eradicate corruption," he said.