KPK arrests PPP chairman and Jokowi ally Romahurmuziy for alleged corruption within Religious Affairs Ministry

PPP Chairman Romahurmuziy. Photo: Instagram/@romahurmuziy
PPP Chairman Romahurmuziy. Photo: Instagram/@romahurmuziy

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) this morning arrested United Development Party (PPP) Chairman Romahurmuziy, popularly known as Rommy, in what may be the anti-corruption body’s highest profile bust so far this year.

According to reports, Rommy was among five arrested in a sting operation by the KPK during an illicit transaction in the East Java city of Sidoarjo at 9am today.

“This transaction is suspected to be related to the filling of positions within the Religious Affairs Ministry’s central and regional offices,” KPK Spokesperson Febri Diansyah told reporters today, as quoted by CNN Indonesia, without going into specifics about the arrest.

The five suspects, including Rommy, were reportedly taken to East Java Police headquarters for questioning. Reports said they were arrested at the Religious Affairs Ministry office in Sidoarjo but the ministry has denied that the sting operation was carried out there.

Rommy is a close ally of President Joko Widodo, who has proved decisive in steering PPP to join the government’s coalition in 2016 after he replaced former Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali — who was prosecuted for corruption in 2014 — as the Islam-based party’s chairman.

It remains to be seen how Rommy’s arrest will affect President Jokowi’s electability in April’s presidential election. Jokowi’s camp has so far remained coy about the arrest, saying they believe it won’t hurt Jokowi’s chances while also arguing that the arrest is proof that the president does not intervene in applications of the law.

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