The investigation into explosive allegations of corruption inside Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs that led to Friday’s shocking arrest of United Development Party (PPP) Chairman Romahurmuziy has now entangled the ministry’s head, Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, after a raid on his office yesterday revealed suspiciously huge amounts of cash in his desk.
“Yesterday, money was found and confiscated from the drawer of the office desk of the minister of religion . The origin of money will be determined, of course. The amount is IDR 180 million and USD 30,000,” Febri Diansyah, the head of public relations from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said yesterday as quoted by Detik.
Febri said that investigators were trying to connect the money in Lukman’s desk to the allegation that positions within the ministry were being bought and sold for bribes, which is what led to Romahurmuziy being arrested during an undercover operation by the KPK last week. In addition to the money, the KPK also seized documents during the raid on Lukman’s office that were related to another suspect giving bribes to Romahurmuziy .
The KPK previously told the public that Romahurmuziy had received bribes related to the filling leadership positions in several regional departments of religious affairs. The anti-corruption task force said one suspect had given IDR 250 million to Romahurmuziy to secure his job while another was caught red-handed trying to give him a IDR 50 million bribe during the same sting operation that led to the PPP leader’s arrest on Friday.
Police have said that Lukman would be interrogated regarding the allegations and the source of the money, but have yet to indicate whether or not he will face charges.
While Romahurmuziy was known as a close ally of President Joko Widodo, the scandal of his arrest has not yet proved overly problematic for the incumbent in the run up towards the April 17 election. However, having the head of his Religious Affairs Ministry named a suspect in a huge corruption scandal could prove a real concern for the president, who has managed to maintain a strong anti-corruption image among his supporters despite some of his allies’ records on graft.