Minister of Social Affairs, Juliari Peter Batubara
22 December 2020
The anti-corruption agency (KPK) disclosed how the Minister of Social Affairs, Juliari Peter Batubara (JPB), received bribes in the suspected COVID-19 social assistance corruption case. He became the second minister in President Joko Widodo’s cabinet to be arrested for corruption in the past two weeks after Edhy Prabowo, another politician from the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), who allegedly received bribes for lobster seed export permits.
JPB appointed his assistants at the Ministry, Matheus Joko Santoso(MJS) and Adi Wahyono (AW) to implement the distribution of Covid assistance. Unlike other regions, the Greater Jakarta got aid package in the form of goods including rice, oil, and canned sardines costing $21.3. MJS and AW closed procurement deals with several suppliers. The suppliers included Ardian IM, Harry Sidabuke, and Rajawali Parama Indonesia (RPI), a company allegedly controlled by MJS. The appointment of RPI as one of the partners was allegedly known by JPB and approved by AW. The suppliers were to pay kickback of $0.71 for each package valued at $21.3. KPK suspected Matheus collected $852,000 in kickbacks, some of which he gave to Juliari through AW. KPK said that the kickback money was managed by EK (Eko) and SH (Shelvy N) as Juliari’s trusted people to be used to pay for various personal needs of JPB.
For the second period of implementing the basic food assistance package, fee money was collected from October 2020 to December 2020, amounting to around $625,000, which is also suspected to be used for JPB’s needs.
KPK also arrested Matheus(MJS), Adi(AW), Ardian, and Harry in several places around Jakarta early on Saturday. The last two are suppliers of goods. KPK also confiscated cash of around $1,030,000 in various currency denominations.
The parliament has been trying to diminish the powers of KPK because the members of the parliament can freely take bribes without fear. Despite the parliament’s opposition, KPK has fearlessly arrested four ministers of Joko Widodo’s cabinet. The president did not intervene on behalf of his corrupt colleagues and let rule of law take its own course. KPK and President Widodo are worthy of praise.
Covid-19 is subject that is close to the heart of President Widodo. With this incident he may consider reshuffling the cabinet with a view to cleaning it. Politicians are clean until they come to power.
Jakarta Globe reported.