Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The Indonesian Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) has launched an investigation against the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Jero Wacik, a senior Democratic Party official of outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
On October 20 the second mandate of the Head of State ends so any political scandal in the case of an indictment might overwhelm the entire party; authoritative sources report that the Minister's resignation is likely by the end of September before the official start of the next term with the meeting of Parliament.
Wacik is being investigated for abuse of power in the exercise of office, taking advantage of a "strategic" ministerial post to grant concessions or assign contracts. He came under the scrutiny of investigators during the arrest of Rudi Rubiandini, head of the special commission of control over the Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Company, better known as SKK Migas, who was surprised while pocketing bribes.
KPK chief Abraham Samad, called the minister a "greedy" official who used his dominant position for personal gain. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and expulsion from the party.
Over the last three years - under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's second term - the Anti-Corruption Commission has carried out a series of successful operations throughout the country. The KPK has claimed victims among the county's elite and uncovered sensational cases of corruption in various sectors from justice and politics to the economy.
These include, among others, the arrest of a prominent cabinet minister and the President of the Constitutional Court as well as the oil industry scandal and the intrigues that led to the re-election of former Governor of the Central Bank. Moreover, corruption was one of the key issues in the April general elections and July presidential elections.
The trials handed down sentences of up to 10 years in prison. But the harshest judgment imposed to date was the 16 years in prison for Lutfi Hasan, former MP and president of the pro-Islamic Justice and Prosperous Party (PKS). The Anti-Corruption Commission claims it still has ongoing investigations into the actions of other politicians and parliamentarians, some of whom have subjected to restrictions on freedom of movement.