Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Attorney General initiates investigation into sugar import scandal at the Ministry of Trade

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Investigators from the Attorney General’s Office (Kejagung) conducted a search at the Ministry of Trade (Kemendag) on October 3, 2023. This move is part of an ongoing probe related to sugar imports.

Kuntadi, Director of Investigation at Kejaksaan Agung, revealed that the search at Kemendag’s offices and PT PPI was directly connected to the investigation into sugar imports. 

“Regarding the investigation into sugar imports, today we conducted searches at Kemendag and PT PPI. We await the results,” stated Kuntadi on October 3, 2023.

Kuntadi further disclosed that Kejaksaan Agung had escalated the status of the alleged corruption case involving sugar imports at Kemendag for the period 2015-2023 from an initial inquiry to a full-fledged investigation.

This case revolves around suspicions of improper sugar imports aimed at meeting the national sugar stock and price stabilization. 

“The case involves allegations of corruption, abuse of authority in import activities at the Ministry of Trade from 2015 to 2023,” explained Kuntadi.

Kuntadi elaborated that Kemendag was suspected of unlawfully granting approval for the import of raw crystal sugar, to be processed into crystalline sugar, to unauthorized entities. These approvals were issued in violation of import quotas.

“Kemendag is also suspected of granting import permits exceeding the maximum quota required by the government,” added Kuntadi.

The actual financial loss incurred by the state in this case has not yet been determined by Kejaksaan Agung, and no suspects have been formally charged, although evidence of unlawful actions has been uncovered.

Kemendag’s response

Responding to the investigation, Suhanto, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Trade, affirmed their support for the legal process conducted by Kejaksaan Agung. Suhanto stated that the Attorney General’s Office had come to obtain additional data.

“The Attorney General’s Office came to obtain additional data to supplement the information required for the ongoing investigation. Naturally, we welcome their actions,” said Suhanto.

Suhanto emphasized that the Ministry of Trade respects the efforts to enforce the law and combat corruption. He further asserted that the ministry would cooperate fully with the legal authorities in the pursuit of justice.

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