Beef graft suspect charged with money laundering

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Fri, March 08 2013

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has charged another graft suspect with money laundering in its attempt to salvage swindled public funds.
The KPK announced on Wednesday night that it had slapped Ahmad Fathanah, a suspect in the beef import graft case, with money laundering charges. Commission spokesman Johan Budi said investigators in the case had collected sufficient evidence that Ahmad’s wealth was illegally amassed.
The commission has confiscated four cars reportedly belong to Ahmad, who is believed to be a close aide to Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq, the former chairman of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). Both men have been charged with accepting bribes from a beef import firm in return for licenses to import beef.
The cars are a black Toyota FJ Cruiser, a white Alphard, a black Land Cruiser Prado and a black Mercedes Benz. Ahmad reportedly bought the cars from a car dealer identified as William Mobil in Pondok Indah, South Jakarta. The four cars are currently parked next to KPK headquarters. “These cars are believed to be owned by Ahmad,” Johan said.
On Thursday, one of Ahmad’s wives, Sanustika, came to the KPK office to visit her husband. She refused to explain the legality of her husband’s seized cars when reporters ambushed her with questions. When asked if she knew what her husband did for a living, she replied, “I don’t know. I don’t know.”
Under the 2010 Money Laundering Law, the KPK is authorized to investigate cases of money laundering and to access information on suspicious transactions from the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK).
Since its enactment in 2010, the antigraft commission has leveled money laundering charges against a number of corruption suspects, including former Democratic Party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin and former tax official Gayus Tambunan. Nazaruddin and Gayus were involved in a slew of corruption scandals that have caused billions of rupiah in state losses.
The latest graft suspect to be charged with money laundering before Ahmad was former National Police Traffic Corps (Korlantas) chief Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, who had been accused of rigging the tender for the Rp 200 billion (US$20.6 million) project to purchase driving simulators. The KPK has confiscated 11 houses owned by Djoko, in Depok, West Java; Jakarta; Semarang and Surakarta, Central Java; and Yogyakarta. Djoko allegedly has Rp 40 billion in assets in Surakarta alone.
The KPK has said it will try to use the Money Laundering Law to fight against corruption as it would enable it to retrieve stolen state funds. “We’re trying to regain as many state funds as possible,” Johan said in October last year.
Emerson Yuntho of Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) said he appreciated the KPK’s move, saying that the Money Laundering Law was a better instrument to prosecute those involved in graft cases.
“The existing Corruption Law has several limitations. It can only pin the actors, but cannot fully recover what they have stolen from the state,” he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
The Money Laundering Law could serve as a deterrent for the culprits or those close to them. “It can pin anyone who accepts or hides money obtained from graft cases,” he said. “It’s also a more effective tool for recovering state assets.”