Friday, April 19, 2024

Minister Johnny G. Plate accused of corruption, NasDem defends

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Journalist IBP

Journalist

Mahinda Arkyasa

Editor

Interview

The Minister of Communication and Informatics (Menkominfo) Johnny G. Plate, was recently arrested for his involvement in an alleged corruption for 4G Base Transceiver Station (BTS) construction project all across Indonesian regions. The crime caused a total of IDR 8.32 trillion state losses.

Accused of corruption worth IDR 8.32 trillion

The Attorney General’s Office stated that Plate played an important role in this case. Plate has been detained at the Salemba Detention Center for 20 days.

The BTS project phase 2 in 2021 and 2022 is an internet infrastructure project to provide internet access to 7,904 villages. The project is still incomplete, and the budget allocated for the project reached up to IDR 17.3 trillion.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud Md, explained that his ministry only found 985 BTS intended for the project, which cannot be operated. The number is far below the expected 4,000 BTSs.

The initial loss estimated by the Attorney General’s Office was only more than IDR 1 trillion. However, it increased as the Financial and Development Supervisory Agency (BPKP) conducted an investigation.

“There is sufficient evidence that the [Plate] was allegedly involved in the criminal act of corruption in the 4G BTS infrastructure development project,” said Kuntadi, Attorney for Special Crime of the Attorney General Office said on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.

Violation of law

Plate used the budget in a project implemented by the Information Telecommunications Accessibility Agency (Bakti), a public service agency at the Ministry of Communication and Informatics.

Plate violated the criminal act of corruption because it is detrimental to state finances. However, so far the Attorney General’s Office has not provided details on Plate’s alleged involvement.

Includes, the activities of preparing supporting studies, increasing unreasonable prices or mark-ups, and paying for projects that have not been built at all have incurred costs.

So far, Plate has been questioned 3 times, and five suspects have been identified:

  • Anang Achmad Latif, Director of Bakti Kominfo;
  • Galumbang Menak Simanjuntak, President Director of PT Mora Telematika Indonesia;
  • Yohan Suryanto, UI Human Development Expert;
  • Mukti Ali, Development Director of PT Huawei Tech Investment; And
  • Irwan Hermawan, Commissioner of PT Solitech Media Sinergy.

Plate’s Wealth

Plate’s wealth while serving as Minister of Communication and Information in the Jokowi Cabinet for the 2019-2024 period have increased significantly.

In 2019, Plate has assets amounting to IDR 172 billion. In 2020, his total assets increase to IDR 189 billion.

Meanwhile, in 2020, Plate’s again increase to IDR 191.2 billion. In 2022, Plate did not report his asset.

He is also known to have own several cars, each valued more than IDR 6 billion.

The NasDem Party commented

Apart from his role as a minister, Plate is also the Secretary General of the National Democratic Party (NasDem). Following Plate’s apprehension, Surya Paloh, Chairman of NasDem Party confesses that Plate’s behavior in the high-value corruption case devastated him.

However, Surya Paloh believed that Plate is not corrupt, and that he is ready to support the Attorney General’s Office to investigate the case.

“Also check all the elements in all institutions including the NasDem Party. NasDem welcomes that,” said Surya Paloh.

Meanwhile, will certainly affect the electability of the party in the 2024 election, as well as the party’s presidential candidate Anies Baswedan.

Government response

With regards to concerns about political motives of the revealing of Plate’s corruption, Mahfud Md assured the public that the case is not related to politics and is purely based on Plate’s violation of the law.

The Attorney General’s Office has been working on this case with great care for a long time. There are already at least two sufficient pieces of evidence before naming Plate as a suspect.

“I know that this case has been carefully investigated and always intersects with accusations of politicization,” said Mahfud Md on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.

Meanwhile, Ali Mochtar Ngabalin, a staff of the Presidential Staff Office stated that Plate will be replaced immediately. However, the appointment on his replacement is still waiting for President Joko Widodo’s instruction.

Journalist IBP

Journalist

Mahinda Arkyasa

Editor

 

Interview

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