KPK arrests Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf on suspicion of graft, hundreds of millions in cash secured

Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf. Photo: Instagram/@irwandi_yusuf
Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf. Photo: Instagram/@irwandi_yusuf

Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf yesterday in what has become the latest high-profile case in the country’s long struggle against corruption.

KPK officers reportedly captured 10 people in relation to the case, including Irwandi and Bener Meriah Regent Ahmadi, in Aceh’s capital city, Banda Aceh. The pair were questioned at the Aceh Provincial Police headquarters before being flown over to Jakarta this morning. They are currently being detained at KPK headquarters.

Without going into much detail as the investigation is still in its early stage, KPK spokesperson Febri Diansyah said their arrest was related to inconsistencies in Aceh’s Regional Budget (APBD).

“Up to now, what I can say is there were suspected transactions related to the budgeting process between the province and the regency,” Febri said, as quoted by BBC Indonesia today.

KPK Chief Agus Rahardjo also said that they secured hundreds of millions in cash — though it’s unclear from who at this point — as evidence in this graft case.

Irwandi is arguably the highest profile politician to be arrested by the KPK since former House Speaker Setya Novanto, who was eventually sentenced to 15 years after a drawn out (and often silly) investigation.

While this may seem like a relatively small victory in Indonesia’s fight against endemic corruption, it’s very likely that the KPK will continue to have their hands full arresting corrupt politicians for the near future, particularly those from regional governments. In last week’s nationwide regional elections, there were nine candidates throughout Indonesia who were still under investigation for suspected graft.

The General Election Commission (KPU) yesterday issued a regulation banning those who have already been convicted of corruption from run for office, but it seems likely that legal challenges against the ban will be filed.

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