Corruption Eradication Commission searches Lippo boss James Riady’s house as part of Meikarta investigation

Corporate rendering of the still-under-construction Meikarta property project in Bekasi. Image: Company Handout
Corporate rendering of the still-under-construction Meikarta property project in Bekasi. Image: Company Handout

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigation into alleged bribery related to the Lippo Group’s US$20 billion Meikarta property development has taken an even more worrying turn for the Indonesian conglomerate, with the anti-graft body going so far as to search the residence of its deputy chairman, James Riady.

The news was confirmed by KPK Spokesperson Febri Diansyah today, who mentioned Riady’s residence among several locations that were searched by KPK investigators.

“Investigators carried out their search at five locations up to this morning, namely James Riady’s residence, the Trivium Terrace apartments, the Public Works Agency, the Environmental Agency, and the Fire Department,” Febri told reporters today, as quoted by Kompas.

Febri did not reveal what evidence the investigators unearthed at these locations, nor if Riady is implicated in the bribery scheme.

After news broke Monday afternoon that the KPK had arrested 9 people as part of an investigation into bribery related to licensing for the mega-project, the anti-corruption taskforce later confirmed that Bekasi Regent Neneng Hassanah and several senior Lippo Group executives were among those being charged.

According to the KPK, Neneng was allegedly promised IDR13 billion (US$850,000) by Lippo Group, although only IDR7 billion has so far been disseminated to Neneng through a number of four other Bekasi Government officials who were also named suspects.

The KPK also named four Lippo Group employees as suspects, including operational director Billy Sindoro.

KPK Deputy Chair Laode M Syarif said the investigation into the Meikarta case began back in November 2017 after they received reports from the public regarding irregularities in the licensing process for the mega project.

Lippo Group has been heavily touting the Meikarta project as a “city of the future” and an alternative for those dissatisfied with living in Jakarta. But even before the KPK arrests, the project had been dogged by reports about stalled construction, slow sales and accusations of broken promises.

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