Pope Francis concludes Asia trip
Lawmaker accused of taking millions in bribes
Case could be a 'tsunami' for his political partyLufti Hasan Ishaaq denies the allegations made against him (PKS website)
- Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
- January 31, 2013
The chairman of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) was arrested ON Wednesday for allegedly taking millions of dollars in bribes.
Rep. Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq of the Islam-based political party is accused of demanding up to 40 billion rupiah (about US$4.3 million) in payments for meat imports and procurement contracts .
â€śWe were informed by people that sums of money was changing hands in relation to meat imports,â€ť said Johan Budi, spokesperson for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), which is heading the investigation and will block the legislator from leaving the country.
According to Budi, Ishaaq was bribed by the directors of PT Indoguna Utama which has branches in Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong and Macau.
KPK also detained three directors of the company.
In a statement published on the PKS website, Ishaaq denied the allegations and asked members to keep fighting against corruption.
â€śCorruption harms the state and the nation. Corruption eradication has been a commitment of the Prosperous Justice Party,â€ť he wrote.
Burhanuddin Muhtadi, a political analyst from the Indonesian Survey Circle, said the case was a â€śtsunamiâ€ť for the PKS, which often claims it is free of corruption.
â€śPublic trust in the PKS will go down drastically. People already have negative opinions about the party,â€ť he said.
House speaker Marzuki Alie said the lawmakerâ€™s alleged involvement in corruption has damaged the countryâ€™s political reputation.
â€śIf he is really involved, the House of Representatives will sink even deeper, and the face of the House of Representatives will become even darker and grimmer,â€ť he told the Jakarta Globe.