Indonesia’s Top Businesswoman Accused of Paying Bribes


Indonesia’s top businesswoman, Hartati Murdaya, has been accused of paying bribes to the head of the Buol district, Amran Abdullah Batalipu, to obtain a plantation permit (IUP) and a land use right (HGU) for her companies.

“Siti Hartati Murdaya, director of PT Hardaya Inti Plantation (HIP) and PT Citra Cakra Murdya, either individually or together with Gondo Sudjono, operations director of PT HIP, Yani Ansori, supporting general manager of PT HIP, Arim, financial controller and Totok Lestiyo, director of PT HIP, paid a total of Rp3 billion to Amran Abdullah Batalipu, a state official, to send letters to the governor of Southeast Sulawesi and the chief of the National Land Agency (for the licenses),” said public prosecutor Edy Hartoyo.

The prosecutor accused the defendant of violating anti-corruption laws. A person guilty of violating anti-corruption laws will be sentenced to five years in prison, and he/she will have to pay a fine of up to Rp250 million.

These permits are required for the development of oil palm plantations on 4,500 hectares of land.

“The defendant and Amran Batalipu met at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on June 11, 2012, and she requested Amran to send location permit and recommendation letters to the Southeast Sulawesi governor and the chief of the National Land Agency, for the issuance of the permits for 4,500 hectares and 75,000 hectares of land. The defendant agreed to give Rp3 billion in total. Rp1 billion was given to Arim and Rp2 billion was given to Gondo Siujono,” the prosecutor said.

Based on the deal, Hartati requested Arim to give the letters to Amran on June 11, 2012.

“Amran said he will help after receiving the money from the defendant,” he said.

On June 18, 2012, Arim and Yani Anshori sent Rp1 billion to Amran’s home in Buol, informing him that the money was from Hartati.

On June 19, 2012, Arim and Yani received letters that they could obtain the HGU and IUP from the chief of the land team, Amir Rihan Togila.

“On June 20, 2012, the defendant used Totok’s phone and called Amran, thanking him for the letters in exchange for Rp1 billion,” the prosecutor said.

Before the session, Hartati said that she did not want to give a bribe to Amran. “As a member of the Democratic Party’s Advisory Board and a religious activist, I am not corrupt. It is impossible for me to do it,” she said.

“With regard to my employees, they did not violate the law. They wanted to contribute to the election of the district head. I did not know if it was related to the HGU,” she said.

The session has been adjourned until December 6.

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