Nazaruddin on air as party executives defend Anas

Bagus BT Saragih and Adianto P. Simamora

Padangekspres.net-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party executives moved to curb any potential efforts to oust party chairman Anas Urbaningrum, while ousted treasurer

Muhammad Nazaruddin appeared in a televised interview following his disappearance overseas.

“I am overseas,” Nazaruddin said, in the interview to dispel rumors that he had slipped back into the country.

Nazaruddin had granted an interview via an Internet video call to Iwan Piliang, a fellow Democratic Party member, on Thursday night. The interview was broadcast by MetroTV at around 9:30 p.m. on Friday.

During the interview, Nazaruddin confirmed that he was behind a series of BlackBerry messages.

The messages accused party members of corruption in various government-funded projects, including an athletes’ village built in Palembang, South Sumatra, for the 2011 SEA Games. Party members previously raised doubts that Nazaruddin was behind the messages.

Nazaruddin then displayed a USB memory drive and a CD, saying they contained evidence of the various acts of corruption committed by other party members. The CD, he said, contained a CCTV recording of Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) deputy Chandra M. Hamzah’s visit to Nazaruddin’s house.

Earlier on Friday, Yudhoyono talked to the press at the Presidential Palace to comment on Nazaruddin’s claims.

“Nazaruddin, come back home.”

It was Yudhoyono’s second official comment to the press about Nazaruddin’s claims after a press conference on July 11.

“[Nazaruddin’s] statements on television confuse us. They upset [us] and makes us distrust one another,” Yudhoyono said.

Party executive Mohammad Jafar Hafsah said he heard that some regional party members might push for Anas’ suspension in the meeting on Saturday and Sunday in Sentul, south of Jakarta.

“Insya Allah [God willing], there will be no attempt to convert the meeting into an extraordinary congress to change party leadership.”

Jafar said party executive board members had approached members from provincial and municipal chapters to convince them that any moves against Anas “would be bad for
the party”.

Sutan Bhatoegana, party deputy secretary-general, said he had warned that party members who proposed any efforts to change the meeting into an arena to topple Anas “could face severe punishment for violating the party’s code of ethics”.

The Democratic Party chair position has been a hot seat after Anas’ former colleague, graft fugitive Nazaruddin, accused Anas of “masterminding” a number of instances of graft in government projects.

Nazaruddin — who was fired as party treasurer and left the country a day before a travel ban was imposed on him — also accused Anas of distributing US$20 million he had illegally received from businesspeople to “buy votes” to secure his victory in the party’s chairmanship election in 2010.

Anas has denied Nazaruddin’s claims, saying that his colleague “has been used politically to attack me and tarnish my good name”.

Nazaruddin also accused Anas of making an illegal deal with Chandra and KPK enforcement deputy Insp. Gen. Ade Rahardja to keep Anas and other Democratic Party politicians out of the KPK’s investigations.

Andi Hajramurni contributed to this story from Makassar

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