Allegations against Anies Baswedan of corruption and multiple violations of election law being investigated

Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan speaks during an interview at his home in Jakarta, Indonesia February 21, 2017.  REUTERS/Fatima El-Kareem
Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan speaks during an interview at his home in Jakarta, Indonesia February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Fatima El-Kareem

The official campaign period for the runoff election between the incumbents, Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama and Vice Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat, and rivals Anies Baswedan and Sandiaga Uno, started this week. The latest polls seem to support the popular theory that Anies-Sandiaga will pick up the lion’s share of votes that went to Agus Yudhoyono in the first round, leading him to an easy victory over Ahok in the runoff.

But a lot can happen between now and April 19, when the runoff election is set to take place, and it looks like Anies may face quite a bumpy road to get there. Very recently, the former education minister has been hit with multiple reports of violating election law as well as an accusation of serious corruption currently being looked into by the Corruption Eradication Committee (KPK).

Yesterday, representatives of the anti-corruption organization Tim Advokasi Jakarta Bersih (Clean Jakarta Advocacy Team or TAJI) reported Anies to the Jakarta branch of the General Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) for violating election law regarding money politics (which essentially refers to the practice of giving people money for their votes).

TAJI based their report to Bawaslu on a speech Anies gave in Utan Kayu, East Jakarta, on Wednesday in which he promised to give every neighborhood (RW) in Jakarta Rp 3 billion in funding for their “development”, similar to the programs proposed by Agus Yudhoyono in the first round of the election.

Bawaslu head Mimah Susanti said they would examine the video evidence of Anies’ speech to see if what he said would violate campaign laws relating to money politics.

“We will do the research and studies corresponding to the period of time set by law. If it is proven, then there should be administrative punishments (on sanctions) by the Commission, and if it was criminal then they should be sent to the police,” Mimah told CNN Indonesia.

In addition, Anies was also reported to Bawaslu for possibly violating regulations on campaigning in places of worship when he attended an event at the building housing the Indonesian Islamic Propagation Council. The hall in which the event took place is on the 2nd floor but there is mosque located on the 3rd floor in the building, which Mimah said would require Bawaslu to investigate the legal gray area.

While those reported violations could harm Anies campaign if they are proved to be true, he is probably much more worried about a report, filed with the KPK, which involves the possible misappropriation of funds from the Indonesian government meant to go towards their participation in the Frankfurt Bookfair in 2015 (when Anies was still Education Minister).

The report with the KPK was filed yesterday by the executive director of LSM GACD (Government Against Corruption and Discrimination), Andar Mangatas Situmorang, who alleges that Anies was involved in the misappropriation of over Rp 146 billion in funds earmarked for the implementation of Indonesian projects at the Frankfurt Bookfair.

KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah confirmed that they were looking into the report.

“All we can confirm is that we received the report, and that, like all reports or complaints, we will investigate it,” Febri said today as quoted by Merdeka.

Yep, a lot can definitely happen still before April 19.

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