Indonesia sports minister resigns after being named bribery suspect

JAKARTA • Indonesian President Joko Widodo yesterday said his sports minister had resigned after being named a bribery suspect by the anti-corruption agency.

Mr Imam Nahrawi is the second Cabinet minister to be engulfed in the corruption case, which has been a blow to Mr Joko, Indonesia's first president to come from outside the political or military establishment. Mr Joko took office in 2014, promising clean, effective government.

The Corruption Eradication Commission, known by its Indonesian initials KPK, had named Mr Imam and his assistant as suspects on Wednesday.

"We will decide on whether we will replace him or have an interim minister, but I was delivered the letter of resignation," Mr Joko said.

The bribery case involves two organisations: the sports ministry and the National Sports Committee (Koni).

Mr Imam is accused of taking 26.5 billion rupiah (S$2.6 million) in bribes related to a request to the ministry for a grant proposal by Koni in its budget last year, said Mr Alexander Marwata, deputy chief of the KPK.

"The money had allegedly been used for his personal use through his personal assistant," he added.

Representatives of the committee are accused of giving some of the money to Mr Imam through his assistant on five occasions.

The representatives, along with three employees from both the ministry and the committee, had already been named as suspects.

 
 
 

Mr Imam, in a TV appearance on Wednesday night, urged people to "uphold the presumption of innocence" and promised to cooperate with the KPK in the investigation.

"I hope this is not something that has a political motive and is outside of the legal system," he said.

The case surfaced after the KPK launched a sting operation last December, confiscating 7.4 billion rupiah.

Mr Joko's former social minister Idrus Marham was sentenced to three years in prison in April by the special corruption court for bribery.

The latest case also comes as anti-corruption activists express alarm about changes approved this week by Parliament and endorsed by the President that they fear will strip the KPK of its effectiveness.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2019, with the headline 'Indonesia sports minister resigns after being named bribery suspect'. Print Edition | Subscribe