JAKARTA - Indonesia's anti-graft agency KPK has confiscated almost S$140,000 in cash - including Singapore currency - which it suspects that a property company was using to bribe local government officials in Bekasi, a satellite town of Jakarta.
The money - made up of around S$90,000 in Singapore dollars and 500 million rupiah (S$47,000) - is allegedly just a small portion of a 13 billion rupiah commitment fee that the private company promised to give rogue high-ranking local bureaucrats to smooth out a process to get relevant permits for Lippo's Meikarta property project.
KPK's deputy chairman Laode Muhammad Syarif told reporters on Monday night (Oct 15) that the organisation began its investigation about a year ago following tip-offs from members of the public.
He added: "We later found preliminary evidence of the alleged dealings between public officials and private individuals, before we launched raids in two locations, Bekasi and Surabaya, Sunday noon."
About seven billion of the 13 billion rupiah was disbursed earlier this year, allegedly just for the first phase of Meikarta project development that covers 84ha of land, where various licences - including those related to environmental impact analysis - would be required, Mr Laode said.
At least six people from the private company and Bekasi administration were arrested over the weekend while others were declared as suspects and are still at large - including Lippo executive Billy Sindoro.
Bekasi regent Neneng Hasanah Yasin is another suspect and was questioned by the KPK on Monday.
"We conclude there is an alleged corruption act centring on a promise to give 'presents' to the Bekasi regent and others with regard to the process of getting various licences needed to develop the Meikarta project," Mr Laode said.
Shares in Lippo Group's Lippo Cikarang, a parent company for Meikarta, dropped almost 15 per cent after news about the arrests came out, and ended down 13.36 per cent on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
Meikarta is located in a corridor connecting Jakarta and Bandung, the country's fourth-largest city, and the township - billed as "the Shenzhen of Indonesia" - would include shopping malls, hospitals, five-star hotels, and primary to tertiary education centres.
The area is close to industrial estates with plants producing cars, auto spare parts and electronics.