Blimbing Sari Airport corruption probe

By Richard High05 September 2008

Indonesia's Attorney General's Office (AGO) has named a number of former administration officials as suspects in an alleged corruption scam that cost the government IDR 40 billion (US$ 4.27 million).

The former Regency of Banyuwangi representatives are alleged to have taken part in the scam during construction of Blimbing Sari Airport, Java from 2003 to 2005.

According to reports in the Jakarta Post, the AGO investigation team leader Muhammad Anwar named seven former officials as suspects, although only four have so far been detained in police custody.

These include former Regent Samsul Hadi, now serving a jail sentence for another corruption case, property broker H. Effendy, secretary of the Regency administration Sudjiharto, former chief of the local development planning board Soeharno and former chief of the local agricultural agency Nawolo Prasetyo.

Mr Anwar was quoted as saying, the seven would be indicted for allegedly marking up the price of the 38 ha of land earmarked for the airport, resulting in a IDR 40 billion (US$ 4.27 million) loss to the state.

"Sudjiharto is accused of disbursing funds for the land procurement and the Regent is being held responsible for the mark-up case because he approved the land procurement," said Mr Anwar.

Construction of the Blimbing Sari Airport has now been completed. Although it is not yet operational, state-owned Merpati Nusantara Airlines and the Tri GM airline will use it as part of the government's efforts to improve public services and stimulate economic development in the province's eastern regions.

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