Sat, 07 Mar 2009
From: The Jakarta Globe
By Muhammad Al Azhari
Two major infrastructure projects said to be worth Rp 100 billion ($8.3 million) in South Sulawesi Province may have to be cancelled if they are connected to the bribery arrests on Monday of three individuals, including a former lawmaker and a Transport Ministry official, said Jusman Syafel Jamal, the transport minister, late on Thursday.

The Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, on Monday arrested ministry official Darmawati Dareho, and former lawmaker Abdul Hadi Djamal, who was expelled by the National Mandate Party, or PAN, on Wednesday because of the scandal.

Also arrested was businessman Hontjo Kurniawan, who had allegedly passed a total of $90,000 and Rp 54 million to the two.

‘If there were problems, we will propose that the ministry transfer the stimulus funds’

Jusman Syafel Jamal

The alleged bribes were reportedly connected to a proposal in the government’s fiscal stimulus package to build seaports and airports in the eastern part of the country. The projects that might now be scrapped are a port in Pulau Selayar and an airport in Toraja, Jusman said. The projects are now under review by the House of Representatives and the Transportation Ministry.

“The [projects cost about] Rp 100 billion, according to the KPK. We will evaluate these projects,” said Jusman, after a meeting held by acting Chief Economics Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati on the stimulus package.

“I don’t know [more details on it], but if there were problems, we will propose that the Finance Ministry transfer the stimulus funds to other projects,” Jusman added.

The Transport Ministry is scheduled to receive Rp 2.198 trillion from the Rp 12.3 trillion of the stimulus allocated to infrastructure. The ministry has tried to distance itself from Darmawati, saying she was a rogue official who was not in charge of any tenders, nor did she have any authority to discuss the seaport plan, said Sunaryo, maritime affairs director at the ministry.



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