In February 2016, the anti-graft agency had detained Bobby Reynold Mamahit, the then director general, in a corruption case. In August 2016, the anti-corruption court had sentenced Mamahit to five years imprisonment.
The Indonesian public was in shock when the KPK made an announcement on August 24, 2017, that it had detained Antonius Tonny Budiono, the successor of Mamahit, for allegedly receiving bribes in connection with the issuance of permits and procurement for projects under his supervision during the 2016-2017 period.
"Antonius Tonny Budiono (ATB), a suspect in his capacity as the sea transportation director general, and Adiputra Kurniawan (APK), as commissioner of PT Adhi Guna Keruktama (AGK), have been detained for the initial 20 days," Febri Diansyah, the KPK spokesman, had noted on Aug 24.
The anti-graft agency had closely monitored and investigated Budiono for seven months before naming him a suspect.
"After an initial examination and questioning, it was concluded that Director General of Sea Transportation Budiono had allegedly committed corruption in the goods and services procurement projects at the Directorate General of Sea Transportation in the 2016-2017 budget year," KPK Deputy Chairman Basaria Panjaitan had stated at a press conference at the KPK building in Jakarta, Aug 24.
During an impromptu operation conducted by the KPK on Aug 23-24, the agency confiscated money and automatic teller machine (ATM) cards from Budionos bags.
The agency confiscated three ATM cards issued by different banks, 33 bags containing money in rupiah, US dollar, pound sterling, euro, and Malaysian ringgit currencies, with a total value of Rp18.9 billion in cash, and an account in Bank Mandiri having a balance of Rp1.174 billion.
"Hence, the total money recovered by the KPK in the case is valued at Rp20 billion," Panjaitan noted.
It was suspected that Kurniawan had given the money to Budiono in connection with the dredging project at the Tanjung Mas Port in Semarang, Central Java.
"The money is for my operational activities. I have violated the laws. On my behalf, I offer my apology to the public," Budiono informed the press, explaining that he had spent some of the money on social activities, such as to help orphans and renovate damaged churches and schools, among other things.
He denied that some of the money had been channeled to Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi. The minister is a kind individual and did not know about the money, he explained.
Born in Pekalongan, Central Java, in 1958, Bodiono, who has worked as a civil servant for 30 years, was bestowed the "Satyalancana Karya Satya" award last year by the government for his loyalty and dedication.
A recipient of the prestigious award is considered to be a national role model. Following his appointment as the director general of sea transportation in August 2016, he had reported to the KPK that his total assets were nearly Rp2.7 billion.
Meanwhile, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has extended his apologies to the public over the alleged corruption in the ministry. Sumadi vowed to closely supervise and monitor all projects of the ministry.
"Earlier, I had focused on monitoring, but in future, I will watch them closely and scrutinize all projects of the ministry," Sumadi emphasized.
He has urged all ranks of the ministry to eliminate practices of corruption.
"Once again I remind all employees of the Ministry of Transportation to eliminate practices of corruption and illegal levies or else they will face criminal sanctions," Sumadi remarked following the arrest of Budiono.
"I am very concerned that since the start, I have been working hard to prevent the Transportation Ministrys officials from engaging in corruption or accepting bribes, but in fact, these illegal practices still exist," Sumadi stated.
He noted that Budionos arrest by the KPK should offer the required momentum to improve consistency in eradicating corruption.
"Last year, we had foiled graft attempts in Medan, Jakarta, Surabaya, and Samarinda, with significant findings," he recalled.
The minister claimed that the project in question under the sea transportation directorate general has run through its legal procedures.
"Mr Tonny (Budiono) said there is nothing wrong with the project, and the money that he had received was a token of appreciation. However, the amount is too high," Sumadi remarked, adding that he will review the implementation of the project.
Meanwhile, the KPK has offered Budiono to become a collaborator of justice if he discloses details about a bigger corruption case that he had known.
EDITED BY INE/a014