Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Charges against Antasari Azhar, head of the Indonesian Commission on the Eradication of Corruption (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi or KPK), of murder in the death of Nazruddin Zulkarnaen, a business man killed last March by killers as he sat in his car in Tangerang, have been confirmed. In addition to Azhar, who is currently in police custody, the indictment includes Sigid Haryo Wibisono, owner of the Jakarta Merdeka newspaper, and Wiliardi Wizard, former South Jakarta police chief. As friends of the KPK chief, the two men are accused of taking part in the murder plot. Wizard is accused of finding the killers whilst Wibisono of paying them. According to the indictment, Nazruddin Zulkarnaen, CEO of PT Rajawali Putra Banjaran, was killed because he and KPK Chief Azhar had been romantically linked to a 22 –year-old woman.
When charges were laid last Friday it sent shockwaves through the country. Now that they have been confirmed and the alleged offender is detained a mixture of disbelief and embarrassment has followed.
Mr Azhar is one of the most respected political figures in the country, the man who had been tasked by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to fight the widespread problem of corruption.
Azhar has denied all the charges, claiming instead that he was a fried of Zulkarnaen with whom he was in contact over investigations involving corruption within the Rajawali Nusantara Indonesia group, to which the PT Rajawali Putra Banjaran finance company belonged.
Corruption is extensive in Indonesia. According to Transparency International, the country is one of the worst cases, just above basket cases like Zimbabwe.