Indonesian minister suspected of corruption resigns

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik submitted his resignation after an anti-graft agency accused him of extortion.

Indonesian minister suspected of corruption resigns

World Bulletin / News Desk

After being named a suspect in a corruption case by Indonesia’s anti-graft agency, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik has submitted his resignation.

After a plenary cabinet meeting Friday, Presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha told reporters, "Jero’s letter of resignation has been received by the president."

Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission accused Jero of extortion Wednesday for allegedly ordering those working under him to collect around 9.9 billion rupiah (over $840,000) through illegal means including fictitious meetings.

‪The case follows the arrest of Rudi Rubiandini, head of SKK Migas - a government institution for oil and gas - in August last year on charges of obtaining kickbacks from Singapore-based Kernel Oil to award it a lucrative tender to sell oil. The investigation led to Jero's ministry, where the anti-corruption body caught Secretary-General Waryono Karno with $200,000 in cash in his office.

Jero’s deputy, Susilo Siswoutomo, attended Friday's meeting, led by outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono -- who will step down after reaching the two-term limit in October.

Coordinating Economic Minister Chairul Tanjung said Yudhoyono will name a new interim energy minister until president-elect Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is sworn in October 20.

"The question is who will be appointed, we wait for the decision of the president because it is his prerogative. There will probably be a replacement early next," local media quoted Chairul as saying.

Political corruption is a structural problem in Indonesia that seriously undermines people’s trust in politicians and political parties.

Jero is the third minister from President Yudhoyono’s Cabinet -- and the second from his Democratic Party -- to be suspected in a corruption scandal.

Former youth and sports minister Andi Alfian Malarangeng, also from the Democratic Party, was recently handed a four-year sentence for involvement in a graft case over the construction of a sports complex.

Earlier this year, former religious affairs minister Suryadharma Ali resigned after being named a suspect in a case involving the allocation of state funds for Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Suryadharma Ali -- who also serves as chairman of the United Development Party, an Islamic party in the ruling coalition -- is accused of having caused losses to the state’s $5 billion Hajj fund through allegedly abusing his authority in its management projects from 2012-2013.

Several top officials from the Democratic Party have been jailed, or are standing or awaiting trial in a range of graft cases.

After various corruption scandals, the party suffered a 9.42 percent loss in legislative elections this year -- garnering only 20.81 of votes.

Last Mod: 06 Eylül 2014, 12:11
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