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Edhy Prabowo arrest puts spotlight on Gerindra's anti-graft promise

Edhy Prabowo arrest puts spotlight on Gerindra's anti-graft promise

Marine and Fisheries Affairs Minister Edhy Prabowo (left). ANTARA PHOTO/ Reno Esnir/nz

The political career of Edhy Prabowo, a top cadre of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and member of the Widodo-Amin cabinet, may well end with his arrest in a bribery case on Wednesday.

Shortly after his arrest, Prabowo stepped down from the Gerindra's deputy chairmanship and the post of Marine Affairs and Fishery Minister.

He also apologized for disappointing President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Gerindra leader, Prabowo Subianto.

According to Hersubeno Arief, a senior journalist and leading opinion-maker through his Forum News Network (FNN) Channel, Edhy Prabowo served as a cabinet member for one year, one month, and two days after his swearing-in on October 23, 2019.

Coincidently, the day President Jokowi inaugurated his cabinet members, including Edhy Prabowo, at the State Palace last year and the day of Prabowo’s arrest were both Wednesdays.

Edhy Prabowo was arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators shortly after arriving at the Soekarno Hatta International Airport from his Honolulu trip early on November 25, 2020.

He was taken into custody along with 16 other persons, including his wife, Iis Rosita Dewi, over an alleged bribery case involving the issuance of permits for aquaculture and/or fishing businesses and marine commodities in 2020.

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KPK investigators have named seven of the 17 detainees as suspects. Five of the seven suspects, including Edhy Prabowo, have been detained at the anti-graft body's prison from November 25 to December 14, 2020.

Four suspects who have been detained with Prabowo are Maritime Affairs and Fishery Ministry's Special Staff and deputy head of the due diligence team, Safri; Siswadi from PT ACK; Ainul Faqih, a staff member for Edhy Prabowo's wife; and director of PT DPP, Suharjito.

Meanwhile, KPK deputy chief Nawawi Pomolango noted that two other suspects were yet to be detained as of Wednesday evening.

The two suspects -- Andreau Pribadi Misata, the minister's special staff, and Amiril Mukminin, head of the due diligence team -- have been ordered to surrender, Pomolango informed.

According to the KPK, Edhy Prabowo, Safri, Misata, Siswadi, Faqih, and Mukminin allegedly took bribes from Suharjito.

KPK investigators have accused Edhy Prabowo of receiving Rp9.8 billion and US$100 thousand in bribes and charged him and the other suspects for violating Articles 12 and 11 of Law No. 31 of 1999, as amended by the 2001 Corruption Law; juncto Articles 55 and 64 of the Criminal Code.

Meanwhile, KPK investigators have charged Suharjito for violating Articles 5 and 13 of Law No. 31 of 1999, as amended by the 2001 Corruption Law; juncto Articles 55 and 64 of the Criminal Code.

Edhy Prabowo's bribery case is being seen as a tragic blow to Prabowo Subianto, currently the defense minister in the Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin administration, and his Gerindra Party, considering his strong fight against corruption.

Many Indonesians still remember what Prabowo Subianto had pledged in one of the rounds of the presidential debate during last year’s elections.

During a debate with his rival, incumbent President Jokowi, which took place at Bidakara Hotel, Jakarta on January 17, 2019, Prabowo Subianto had spoken of Gerindra's commitment to fighting corruption.

He had even promised to send his party's cadres to prison if they were found committing corruption-related crimes.

He had reiterated his pledge to fight corruption fiercely and build a just and prosperous Indonesia while campaigning for last year's presidential elections.

"Our people are tired of corruption and of being unfairly treated. Why? Because much of Indonesia's wealth has been taken out of the country," he had told his supporters at the Karang Pale field in Mataram City on March 26, 2019.

At the time, Prabowo, the founder of Gerindra, had said that if he was elected the Indonesian president, he would build a corruption-free government for bringing justice and prosperity to the people at large.

However, he was defeated by President Jokowi, and later appointed as defense minister, while another Gerindra cadre, Edhy Prabowo, was appointed as the maritime affairs and fishery minister.

Following Edhy Prabowo's arrest, President Jokowi appointed Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, as the acting Maritime Affairs and Fishery Minister.

“Mr. Minister (Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan) has received a letter signed by State Secretary Pratikno [on his appointment]," spokesperson for the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Jodi Mahardi, stated in Jakarta on Thursday.

President Jokowi has said he will respect the legal process of the anti-graft body's probe into the bribery case involving Edhy Prabowo.

While conversing with journalists in connection with Edhy Prabowo's arrest, Nawawi Pomolango reiterated his call to all state officials to avoid any form of power abuse to enrich themselves or other people.

"The KPK often reminds all state officials to bear in mind their oaths by working wholeheartedly and professionally to fulfill the given mandates and avoid any abuse of power for the sake of their own vested interests," he remarked.

Pomolango noted that state officials, indeed, have opportunities to formulate policies that are beneficial for the nation and in keeping with the state's interests.

"Hence, please do not abuse the authority and accountability mandated solely for the sake of your vested interests," he affirmed.

Related news: KPK detains maritime affairs and fishery minister over bribery case
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