Tue, 15 Jan 2002

Police set to grill Gafur over bribery

Annastashya Emmannuelle, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Abdul Gafur, a prominent figure in the Golkar party, will be questioned by police as a witness in connection with alleged bribery during the North Maluku gubernatorial election which he won last year.

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Saleh Saaf said on Monday President Megawati Soekarnoputri had approved the questioning of Gafur. The presidential endorsement, which was signed on Dec. 7 last year, is needed due to Gafur's status as a regional representative of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR).

Saleh said Megawati's letter of approval is being forwarded to the Maluku Police, who will conduct the investigation.

The North Maluku Legislature annulled Gafur's election as the province's governor on July 25 following reports that Gafur had given money to two local legislators, Muhammad Sahafin from the Golkar Party and Muksin Sudara from the United Development Party (PPP), to help him win the gubernatorial post.

Gafur has denied the allegation.

Police have yet to name Gafur as a suspect, as none of the current witnesses questioned by the Maluku police have confessed that they received money from Gafur.

"Thus far, none of the witness said they received the money from Gafur ... they only said they received money from 'someone' without specifying who," Saleh told The Jakarta Post.

Gafur reportedly gave Sahafin Rp 66 million while Sudara said he did not receive any sum of money although he admitted that someone had attempted to bribe him.

Both Sudara and Sahafin have provided provincial legislative council documents related to the case, which have been accepted as legal evidence in Gafur's case, Saleh said.

The government later set up a special team, comprising representatives from the Directorate General of Regional Autonomy, the home ministry inspectorate general, the Directorate General of Regional Integrity and members of the House of Representatives Commission II on legal and home affairs, to investigate the alleged bribery.