Key Jokowi backer detained by Indonesia's anti-graft agency

United Development Party chairman Muhammad Romahurmuziy was detained in Surabaya, Indonesia on March 15, 2019.
United Development Party chairman Muhammad Romahurmuziy was detained in Surabaya, Indonesia on March 15, 2019.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/MUHAMMAD ROMAHURMUZIY

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) - Indonesia's anti-corruption agency detained the chief of a political party backing President Joko Widodo's bid for a second term, just weeks before the nation goes to the polls.

The Corruption Eradication Commission, known as the KPK, detained United Development Party chairman Muhammad Romahurmuziy in Surabaya on Friday (March 15), Kompas news portal reported, citing the commission's chairman Agus Rahardjo.

The politician was being questioned by the agency, Kompas said. Febri Diansyah, a commission spokesman, didn't immediately respond to request for comments.

Mr Rahardjo declined to comment about the charges against Mr Romahurmuziy, whose Islamic party is among the 10 parties backing Mr Joko's bid for re-election in the April 17 election.

Fiki Satari, a director in Mr Joko's campaign team, said Mr Romahurmuziy's detention had nothing to do with the presidential election.

"We will not intervene in the process and we're waiting for updates from the KPK. We also believe that the case will not affect Jokowi-Amin pair's electability," Mr Satari said.

With about four weeks to go in the campaign, polls show Mr Joko, known as Jokowi, holding a lead of about 20 points over his rival Prabowo Subianto.

Still, the gap has narrowed and Mr Prabowo has campaigned aggressively, prompting suggestions he could spring a "Mahathir-like" upset and follow Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in winning an unlikely victory.