S'pore dollars seized in graft probe involving Riau Governor

Indonesian anti-corruption officials recovered a stack of Sing dollars in yet another corruption probe.

In the latest incident, Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested Riau Governor Annas Maamun and several others including his wife on Thursday for graft. They were arrested at the governor's East Jakarta home.

Jakarta Post reported that KPK officers had confiscated S$156,000 and Rp 500 million (S$53,000). Anti-corruption officials said the money was given by a landowner to convert the use of his land.

The governor had been a controversial figure since his appointment just seven months ago. He had faced criticism for appointing his son and son-in-law to key positions in Riau. He had also been accused of molesting a junior official but Annas claimed the allegations were false.

The arrest follows another high-level corruption probe in August in which a junior official was found to have more than US$110 million (S$140 million) in her bank account. She was arrested with her brother and several military officers and officials from Pertamina, Indonesia's oil company.

The woman was said to have conspired with her brother in stealing subsidised fuel and selling them to ships. Media reports revealed that she would often be paid with Singapore notes.

Indonesia's Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) had previously called on Singapore to withdraw all S$10,000 notes, to curb rampant corruption and money-laundering activities.

On July 2, the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced that it would no longer issue the note from Oct 1 onwards. PPATK officials said the move was helpful but added that as long as the bill remains in circulation, Indonesia would still be at risk of money-laundering and graft.

KPK had previously said that in almost every arrest of graft suspects, S$10,000 bills were confiscated.

PPATK's chairman Agus Santoso said: "The S$10,000 bank note, which is not widely used in Singapore on a daily basis as legal tender, is the bill-of-choice for bribed players or for graft suspects because they can exchange a large amount of rupiah for just a few bank notes."

Source: Jakarta Post, Jakarta Globe