Former health minister Siti Fadillah Supari was arrested on October 24, following the national anti-graft agency’s investigation into a case of illegal procurement of medical equipment during the bird flu epidemic in Indonesia.
The ex-health minister was named as a suspect in April 2014, when she was allegedly involved in marking up prices of medical equipment during the 2007 bird flu emergency in the archipelago. The scheme resulted in at least Rp 6.8 billion (US$522,000) in state losses. Supari served as minister under the 2004 and 2009 administrations of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Deputy Chairman Bambang Widjojanto reported in that same year that his department was able to secure a letter signed by the KPK commissioners that authorized a full investigation of Supari’s case.
KPK accused Supari of being part of the scheme after highlighting Rp.1.37 billion (US$105,00) worth of traveller’s checks she received from Bank Mandiri. The KPK says the former health minister was bribed for pulling strings to have the medical equipment contract awarded to supplier Prasasti Mitra.
Before her questioning at the KPK headquarters in South Jakarta, Supari told reporters that she was accused of receiving bribes, although it remains unclear as to who bribed her and when the incident occurred.
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The former health minister pleaded that President Joko Widodo be fair and help make the nation a law-abiding country. “There are bigger cases that have not been processed. In my case, I am innocent but I am in detention,” said Supari.
The KPK has charged Supari for violating the Anti-Corruption Law in conjunction with the Penal Code. Her charges cover the abuse of power, violation of the law and holding office while incurring state losses and enriching oneself.
In a 2006/2007 graft case related to the Health Ministry’s medical equipment procurement, several state officials were also sentenced by the Corruption Court. Former secretary Sutedjo Yuwono of the welfare ministry was sentenced to five years in prison. Former ministry head Rustam S. Pakaya of the Health Ministry’s crisis mitigation centre got four years. Former director general Ratna Dewi Umar of the Health Ministry’s medical services department was handed three years.
Image Credits: Infonawacita, Kompasiana