Jakarta vice-governor candidate faces graft probe

Mr Agus (second from left) and his running mate, Ms Sylviana, are campaigning against incumbent Jakarta governor Basuki (third from left) and his deputy, Djarot Saiful Hidayat (right), in the Jakarta gubernatorial election.
Mr Agus (second from left) and his running mate, Ms Sylviana, are campaigning against incumbent Jakarta governor Basuki (third from left) and his deputy, Djarot Saiful Hidayat (right), in the Jakarta gubernatorial election.PHOTO: REUTERS

Allegations involve funds for building of a $2.9m mosque and a local Boy Scouts group

Indonesian police have summoned for questioning Ms Sylviana Murni, the running mate of Jakarta gubernatorial election candidate Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, over allegations of corruption.

This means Ms Sylviana must report to the police graft investigations division in Kuningan, South Jakarta, today for questioning, said police spokesman Martinus Sitompul yesterday.

The accusations reportedly involve funding meant for the construction of a mosque in Jakarta and a local Boy Scouts group when she was Central Jakarta mayor.

The latest development, in what has been an eventful campaign for Jakarta governor over the last four months, comes just weeks before voters head to the polls on Feb 15.

It also follows a separate investigation against Ms Sylviana's husband, Mr Gde Sardjana, for treason as well as supporting hate speech.

The plot to overthrow the government had emerged on the day of the Dec 2 public rally by Muslim hardliners against Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama for allegedly insulting Islam.

Politician Rachmawati Sukarno- putri, a daughter of Indonesia's founding president Sukarno, was also part of an alleged conspiracy involving at least 12 suspects to topple the government.

The police had said the group planned to destabilise the Joko Widodo administration by escalating the mass protest against Basuki, better known as Ahok, over his alleged blasphemy.

Mr Gde is suspected to have been involved in funding one of the treason suspects, who has been accused of making hate speeches.

Basuki, who is a close political ally of President Joko, is now facing trial for the blasphemy offence even as he continues his campaign.

The governor, who is running for a second term in the gubernatorial election next month, is in a three-corner contest against Mr Agus Harimurti, son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and Mr Anies Baswedan, former education and culture minister.

Basuki has seen his support in opinion polls slip due to the allegations and the court hearing, while the popularity of the pair of Mr Agus and Ms Sylviana has risen.

Ms Sylviana, however, must now answer to questions over the construction of the Al Fauz Mosque, which started sometime in 2010 when she was mayor. The 27 billion rupiah (S$2.9 million) project, which was supposed to be funded by a regional budget, was completed and opened in 2011 but funding for the construction fell short by 5.6 billion rupiah.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2017, with the headline 'Jakarta vice-governor candidate faces graft probe'. Print Edition | Subscribe