The Indonesian Minister of Social Affairs Juliari Batubara has been arrested today Sunday, December 6 for allegedly collecting bribes worth $1.2m linked to the food air meant for people hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Juliari Batubara was named the led suspect after the Indonesian anti-corruption agents seized suitcases backpacks and envelopes stuffed with cash equivalent 10 $1.2m during a sting operation on Saturday, December 4.
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The Minister on Sunday, December 5 turned himself in at the anti-corruption agency’s headquarters, making him the second minister in President Joko Widodo’s government arrested over alleged corruption charges in the last few weeks.
“That’s the people’s money… it’s aid urgently needed to help during Covid-19 and for the national economic recovery,” Widodo said after Batubara’s arrest, vowing he would not protect any corrupt officials.
Indonesia’s economy — Southeast Asia’s biggest — has been hit hard by the pandemic, and the government has rolled out aid programs such as food packages to help those in need.
Batubara has been accused of involvement in a bribery scheme linked to one such aid project.
Officials have alleged that he received more than $1 million from two contractors that were appointed to supply basic food packages for people affected by the pandemic.
For each package, Batubara would receive 10,000 rupiah, or $0.71, officials alleged.
If found guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of one billion rupiah ($70,000).
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