JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has appointed Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy as Acting Minister of Social Affairs.
President Joko Widodo made the decision several hours after Social Affairs Minister Juliari P Batubara was named as a suspect in an alleged graft case related to the distribution of Covid-19 social assistance.
“For the time being, I will appoint Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy to carry out the duties of the Social Affairs Minister,” said the President, who is popularly known as Jokowi, at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java on Sunday.
Jokowi supported the KPK’s move to continue to work professionally in preventing and prosecuting corruption cases.
He is optimistic that the KPK will follow good corporate governance in cracking down on corruption cases involving the cabinet ministers.
“We all believe that the KPK promotes transparency and works professionally. And the government will continue to consistently support their efforts to prevent and fight against corruption,” said Jokowi.
During Jokowi’s second term in office which began last year, Juliari was the second sitting minister in the cabinet who was named as a suspect in an alleged corruption case. A week earlier, KPK during an operation arrested Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo for his alleged involvement in a lobster seed export graft case.
Since Jokowi took office in 2014 four cabinet ministers have been named suspects or convicted of graft case. During his first term in office, Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi and Social Affairs Minister Idrus Marham have been convicted.
Juliari had allegedly accepted about 17 billion rupiahs ($1.2 million) in bribes, which was allegedly used for personal purposes, KPK said. The money was allegedly given by a company that collaborated with the ministry in providing the Covid-19 staple food packages to the poor, KPK said.
Besides Juliari, KPK also named four other suspects identified by their initials MJS, AW, AIM, and HS. MJS and AW serve as the Commitment Making Officials at the Social Affairs Ministry. While AIM and HS are the representatives of the private company who are allegedly the bribe givers.
If found guilty, they could face up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
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