Panda was arrested at around 11 pm at the Soekarno-Hatta airport. He was to leave for Batam to attend a leadership meeting of the PDIP there.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Three days after it vowed to solve all corruption cases in 2011, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested on Friday 25 former legislators and senior party politicians as part of its effort to solve a Rp24 billion bribery scandal.

The bribery scandal was linked to the appointment of Miranda Goeltom as Bank Indonesia (BI/central bank) senior deputy governor in 2004.

Among those arrested on Friday were senior Golkar Party cadre who is former national development planning minister Paskah Suzetta, and a senior politician of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) Panda Nababan.

The anti-graft body will question the 25 suspects who allegedly received bribes in the form of traveler`s checks for the election of Miranda Goeltom as BI senior deputy governor.

"They are all to be questioned simultaneously," KPK spokesman Johan Budi said here on Friday. He said that the commission was speeding up the handling of the alleged traveler`s check bribery case so that they would be questioned at the same time.

There were at least 14 legislators (members of Commission IX) of 2004-2009 named suspects in the traveler`s check bribery case and arrested on Friday. According to online website `Inilah.Com`, six of them were Golkar Party cadres, such as Paskah Suzetta, Baharuddin Aritonang, TM Nurlif, Asep Ruchimat Sudjana, Reza Kamarullah and Achmad Hafiz Zawawi.

Seven were PDIP cadres, namely Ni Luh Maryani, Max Moein, Engelina Pattiasina, M Iqbal, Poltak Sitorus, Soewarno, and Matheos Formes. One other from the United Development Party (PPP) was Daniel Tanjung.

Some of the suspects held at the Cipinang Penitentiary in East Jakarta included Sofyan Usman, Paskah Suzetta, Daniel Tanjung, Sutanto Pranoto, Poltak Sitorus, Matius Formes, M Iqbal, Martin Briaseran and Hafid Zawawi.

Some others were held at the Salemba Penitentiary in Central Jakarta, namely Asep Nuhimat, Baharudin Aritonang, Nurlip Suwarno and Reza Kamarullah. The former legislators who were held at the Women`s Penitentiary are Angelina and Ni Luh Mariani.

According to the Jakarta Globe, twenty six people were allegedly involved in the case, but one had passed away (Jeffrey Tongas Lumban) and another, Antony Zeidra Abidin, has been detained in a separate case. Of the 24 who were supposed to be questioned on Friday, four claimed to be ill and one (Budiningsih) was out of town.

The Jakarta Globe also mentioned that from the Golkar Party, ten cadres were suspected to have received bribes, namely Ahmad Hafiz Zawawi (Rp600m), Marthin Bria Seran Rp250m, Paskah Suzetta Rp600 million, Boby Suhardiman Rp500m , Antony Zeidra Abidin Rp 600m, TM Nurlif Rp550m, Asep Ruchimat Sudjana Rp150m, Reza Kamarullah Rp500m, Baharuddin Aritonang Rp 350m, Hengky Baramuli Rp 500m.

Those from PDI-P were Agus Condro Prayitno Rp500m, Max Moein Rp500m, Rusman Lumbantoruan Rp500m, Poltak Sitorus Rp500m, Williem Tutuarima Rp500m, Panda Nababan Rp1,450m, Engelina Pattiasina Rp500m, Muhammad Iqbal Rp500m, Budiningsih Rp500m, Jeffrey Tongas Lumban Rp500m, Ni Luh Mariani Tirtasari Rp500m, Sutanto Pranoto Rp600m, Soewarno Rp500m, Matheos Pormes Rp350m.

Two from the United Development Party (PPP) namely Sofyan Usman Rp250m and Daniel Tandjung Rp 500m.

KPK has earlier discovered alleged bribery during the election of Bank Indonesia senior deputy governor in 2004 which was finally won by Miranda Goeltom.

Commenting on his arrest, Paskah Suzetta questioned the move of the KPK investigators who did not take actions against Miranda Goeltom. "A bribery case must involve two sides, namely those who gave and those who received it," he said adding that the party who were believed to have given the bribes was not named a suspect.

"This is political," he said.

He said he would take political actions to fight his arrest and also the arrest of others.

In the meantime, the Golkar Party said it was ready to provide legal aid for its cadres who were arrested.

"We will surely provide them with legal defense," Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives (DPR)`s Commission III on legal affairs, Aziz Syamsudin who is also of the Golkar faction, was quoted by as saying.

Angelina who looked unable to accept the KPK`s move said that the detention was an effort to distract the people`s attention from other corruption cases such as the Rp6.7 trillion Bank Century bail-out scandal and the case of Gayus Tambunan.

In the meantime, PDIP leader Megawati Soekarnoputri has asked Panda Nababan to remain strong in facing his legal case.

"I just now told Ibu (Mme) Mega about Pak (Mr) Panda who has been arrested by KPK officials and Ibu Mega advised that Pak Panda should remain strong," the party`s head of legal affairs, Trimedya Panjaitan, said when contacted through his cell phone here on Friday.

Panda was arrested at around 11 pm at the Soekarno-Hatta airport. He was to leave for Batam to attend a leadership meeting of the PDIP there.

Trimedya said Mega had also advised that Panda dare face the charges against him and unveil the truth. "Ibu Mega also asked where Pak Panda was being held," he said.(*)

Reporter: By Andi Abdussalam
Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2011