Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The State-owned Enterprises (BUMN) Ministry has discharged President Director of state-owned firm PT PAL Muhammad Firmansyah Arifin for allegedly receiving a bribe in the sales of Strategic Sealift Vessel (SSV) warships to the Philippine government.

"The board of commissioners of PT PAL, this afternoon, took a decision to discharge PT PALs president director who had been named a suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK)," KPK Deputy for Strategic Mines, Industry and Media of the BUMN Ministry Fajar Harry Sampurno stated at a press conference in Jakarta on Friday.

Sampurno said that the BUMN Ministry lauded the KPKs move to arrest PT PALs president director and has carefully kept abreast of the developments in the case.

"As the BUMN Ministry has adopted a zero-tolerance policy, it has sent a letter to PT PALs board of commissioners to increase supervision and take actions with regard to the issue (corruption scandal)," Sampurno noted.

He affirmed that his ministry had also reminded all state companies to avoid taking steps that violate the regulations, let alone corruption.

"The management should tighten control and take immediate, firm actions against the suspects and give priority to maintaining the stability and image of the company," he remarked.

The BUMN Ministrys priority, besides law enforcement, is also to ensure the smooth operations of the company, particularly with regard to its reputation among its business partners, both at home and abroad.

On Thursday, Mar 30, the KPK had caught several PT PAL executives red-handed. Besides Arifin, it also arrested Treasury General Manager Arief Cahyana. PT PALs Finance Director Saiful Anwar has not yet been arrested, as he was still abroad.

The anti-graft body also arrested Agus Nugroho from Ashanti Sales (AS) Incorporation, a private company.

KPK Deputy Chairman Basaria Panjaitan noted at the press conference that after a 24-hour examination, the anti-graft body decided to raise the status of the case from examination to investigation and to name the four as suspects.

Arifin and other PT PAL executives were suspected of having received a bribe of US$1.087 million (Rp14.476 billion), or about 1.25 percent of the total sales value amounting to $86.96 million.

"In 2014, PT PAL had sold two SSV warships to the Philippine government worth $86.96 million. AS Incorporation acted as the sales agent. Of the contract value, AS Incorporation received 4.75 percent, or about $4.1 million, believed to be the agency fee," Panjaitan revealed.

Of the amount, some 1.25 percent was allocated for the PT PAL officials, while the remaining 3.5 percent was set aside for AS Incorporation.

Some $163 thousand was paid in the first stage in December 2016.

"An amount of $25 thousand was handed over when the operation to catch the culprits red-handed was launched yesterday," he added.

Arifin, Anwar, and Cahyana are charged with Article 12, Letter a, or Article 12, letter b, or Article 11 of Law No. 31 of 1999 as amended by Law No. 20 of 2001 on Eradication of Corruption Crime in conjunction with Article 55, Point 1 ke-1 of the Criminal Code.

The article carries a minimum punishment of four years and a maximum 20-year jail term and a fine ranging between Rp200 million and Rp1 billion.

Agus Nugroho, who is suspected to have given the bribe, is charged with Article 5, Point 1, Letter a, or Article 5, Point 1, Letter b, or Article 13 of Law No. 31 of 1999 as amended by Law No. 20 of 2001 on Eradication of Corruption Crime in conjunction with Article 55, Point 1 ke-1 of the Criminal Code.

It carries a punishment of at least one year in prison or a maximum jail term of five years in addition to a fine of at least Rp50 million, or maximum Rp250 million.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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