Indonesia: Lippo Executive to Testify in $21 Bil. Bribery Probe

Indonesia’s anti-corruption agency summoned on Tuesday the deputy chairman of the Chinese-Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group as a witness in a bribery case related to a $US21 billion construction project, Reuters reported.

jakarta-216410 640Jakarta skyline (Photo: Pexels)James Riady is one of the most powerful executives in the country, according to the outlet. His summons comes a month after nine people were arrested in connection to the investigation into the alleged graft in the Lippo Group’s Meikarta real estate project, which lies just outside of Jakarta.

The nine arrested included two Lippo Group consultants, several employees, government officials, and Billy Sindoro, Lippo’s operations director. Reuters reported that Sindoro was named as the prime suspect.

Sindoro was arrested for allegedly instructing staff to bribe a local official $460,000 so that the construction of Meikarta could begin, the South China Morning Post reported.

Authorities also raided the homes of executives around the same time, including Riady’s, according to the outlet.

The investigation into Lippo Group isn’t the only recent high profile graft case in Indonesia with recent arrests involving Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology.

The Meikarta mega project includes properties for automotive and electronics companies, hotels, malls, universities, and apartments.

Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission, KPK, has thrown a wrench in the plans for the project though as President Joko Widodo cracks down on corruption ahead of elections in April. 

A spokesperson for KPK, Febri Diansyah, told Reuters that the agency was investigating the alleged bribes and how the government gave the Meikarata project permits.

Indonesia ranked 96 out of 180 in Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index with a score of 37.