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Indonesian Lawmakers to Probe Alleged Graft under Widodo's Watch

  • Reuters

FILE - Indonesian President-elect Joko Widodo speaks during a press conference at his residence in Jakarta, Indonesia.

FILE - Indonesian President-elect Joko Widodo speaks during a press conference at his residence in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Indonesian opposition lawmakers plan to investigate alleged wrongdoing when President-elect Joko Widodo was governor of the capital, Jakarta, and mayor of the city of Solo, a senior opposition member said.

Widodo narrowly won a July election with promises to voters jaded by generations of graft that he would bring effective and clean government.

But he lacks the support of a majority of members of parliament and is expected to face objections to his reform program from opposition members grouped in a coalition led by losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

“We will use our power to investigate and to obstruct,” Prabowo's tycoon brother and top aide Hashim Djojohadikusumo told Reuters late Tuesday at his office in Jakarta.

The investigations would include looking into alleged corruption involving the purchase of 1.5 trillion rupiah ($122.95 million) worth of Chinese-made busses by the Jakarta government this year, while Widodo was governor, Djojohadikusumo said.

The case is already being investigated by the Attorney General's Office. Media has reported that at least two government officials were suspected of wrongdoing.

Parliament will also investigate irregularities in the education budget of the city of Solo while Widodo was mayor.

Widodo, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing in the two cases, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Opposition members of parliament won the top parliamentary jobs this month, including the post of speaker, which will allow them to control the legislative agenda.

Concerns that Southeast Asia's largest economy could face political gridlock for the next five years have pressured the rupiah and the stock market.

Widodo, who in July beat Prabowo in the closest Indonesian presidential election ever, takes office October 20.

Political experts said Prabowo's loose “Red and White coalition” of members of various opposition parties was intent on making life difficult for Widodo.

“The fact is that in the past two weeks Prabowo's coalition has managed to maneuver in many different ways, showing how they can throw some jabs against [Widodo],” said Tobias Basuki, a political analyst at the CSIS think-tank. “These parliamentary investigations are more of a political move than a genuine inquiry of corruption.”

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