Minister quits amid graft allegations
Politician named during probe into construction contract
The Minister of Youth and Sports resigned today after the anti-graft commission officially named him a suspect in an investigation into a multibillion sports facility project in West Java.
“I discussed my resignation with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono this morning,” Andi Alfian Mallarangeng told reporters at the Sports Ministry in Jakarta today. "I told him about my situation, and he accepted it."
Mallarangeng also resigned from his position as an adviser to the ruling Democratic Party formed by President Yudhoyono 11 years ago.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) announced yesterday that Mallarangeng was a suspect in the sports facility graft case and had asked the immigration office to immediately slap a travel ban on the minister.
Mallarangeng said he respected the KPK decision, but denied all allegations against him.
"Since I was at university I have always spoken of good governance, and I keep that idealism now. I resigned because I want to concentrate on the legal case,” he said.
The minister is the second suspect named after Dedy Kusnidar, the ministry’s chief of finance, in the corruption probe over the construction of a sports center in Hambalang that saw Rp243.6 billion (US$26 million) in losses, according to a state audit.
The project cost Rp2.5 trillion.
Suspicion fell on Mallarangeng following testimony by the disgraced Muhammad Nazaruddin, the former treasurer of the Democratic Party, who has already been convicted of graft. He alleged the minister and party chairman, Anas Urbaningrum, were the masterminds behind the Hambalang graft case.
The anti-graft commission has also sought travel bans on two other suspects, the minister’s brother Zulkarnain Mallarangeng and Muhammad Arif Taufiqrahman of state construction company PT Adhi Karya.
Nazaruddin said the Mallarangeng brothers had received Rp20 billion in exchange for awarding the construction contract to Adhi Karya.
Yudhoyono has appointed coordinating minister for people’s welfare Agung Laksono as an ad hoc youth and sports minister, following Mallarangeng's resignation.
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