Elections Supervisory Agency drops Sandiaga Uno political dowry investigation citing lack of evidence

VP candidate Sandiaga Uno (L) and presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto. Photo: Instagram/@sandiuno
VP candidate Sandiaga Uno (L) and presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto. Photo: Instagram/@sandiuno

Many have urged a thorough investigation into the explosive allegation that former Jakarta Vice Governor Sandiaga Uno paid IDR500 billion (US$35 million) each to political parties PAN and PKS to secure his nomination as Gerindra Chairman Prabowo Subianto’s running mate in next year’s election. But despite the magnitude of the charge, it may never receive the investigation in deserves.

Today, the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) announced that they have dropped their investigation into the allegation citing lack of evidence. Bawaslu said they could not proceed with the investigation because the key witness, Democratic Party Deputy Secretary General Andi Arief, who made the allegation public in the first place, has not been available for questioning.

“Andi Arief’s absence, despite an invitation from Bawaslu [for questioning] means we can’t clarify the giving of money to PKS and PAN,” Bawaslu Head Abhan said in an official statement, as quoted by Kompas today.

Abhan added that the allegation could therefore not be legally proven.

Curiously, Bawaslu ended their investigation before they could make good on their promise to question Sandiaga himself. It appears their investigation was completely reliant on Andi’s testimony as their primary piece of evidence and that they never said that they looked into the financial accounts of the parties implicated.

Reacting to Bawaslu’s decision, Andi accused them of being “lazy and not serious” in their investigation in a text message sent to reporters today. That said, Andi himself previously failed to meet several summons from Bawaslu for questioning, claiming he had to look after his sick parents in Lampung.

According to Indonesian election laws, paying “political dowries” to influence a political party’s choice of nominees for elected officials is illegal. The penalties for violating the law include the revocation of the candidates’ registrations and a prohibition on the political parties involved from nominating another candidate in the next election.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said earlier this month that they would also look into Sandiaga’s political dowry allegation, but there have been no significant updates on their progress yet.

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