Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi dances with youths in Mimika, Papua. The Corruption Eradication Commission has named him a suspect for allegedly accepting US$1.9 million in bribes from the National Sports Committee between 2014 and 2018. (Photo courtesy of kemenpora.go.id)
Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has named the youth and sports minister a suspect in a bribery investigation involving the country’s sports committee.
KPK commissioner Alexander Marwata told journalists on Sept. 18 that the minister, Imam Nahrawi, is suspected of accepting 26.5 billion rupiah (about US$1.9 million) in bribes from the National Sports Committee between 2014 and 2018.
Marwata said the transactions went through his personal assistant, Miftahul Ulum, who was also named a suspect.
He said both suspects could face a life sentence if proven guilty.
Previously, the KPK named five suspects from the committee in connection with the case, which was first uncovered in 2018. Two have already been convicted for bribery, while the rest are still on trial.
“I have heard the KPK chief’s allegations and as an Indonesian citizen I will obey and follow the legal process,” Nahrawi told journalists.
“However, we must uphold the presumption of innocence,” he said. “I hope this has nothing to do with politics.”
The move comes a day after legislators approved a controversial new law which critic say will weaken the anti-graft body’s ability to conduct such probes.
The new law includes the establishment, by the president, of a supervisory council to oversee the KPK and a requirement that it obtains wiretap warrants from the council.
Father Paulus Christian Siswantoko, secretary of the Indonesian bishops’ Commission for the Laity, said the KPK likely conducted a thorough investigation before naming the minister as a bribery suspect.
“We should think positively. His name was mentioned several times in the trial of the other suspects on the sports committee,” he told ucanews.com.
However, it seems corruption eradication efforts against politicians have not been effective yet, he said.
Nahwari is the second youth and sports minister to be named a bribery suspect. In 2012, Andi Alfian Mallarangeng was named a suspect in a case involving a sports facility project in Hambalang, West Java, and later sentenced to four years in prison.