Journalists Involved in Manpower Minister Cover Up


THE name of Muhaimin Iskandar, the Indonesian manpower and transmigration minister, seems inextricably linked to a budget-rigging case at his ministry, despite an alleged conspiracy to keep his name out of the news in at least one national newspaper.
During a Wednesday hearing at the trial of I Nyoman Suisnaya in the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court, the judicial panel heard that the minister had sent a message to House Budget Committee deputy chief Tamsil Linrung, in connection with the Accelerated Fund for Regional Infrastructure Development (DPPID).

The message was allegedly sent via Muhaimin’s special staffer, Ali Mudhori.

“Ali Mudhori called me, saying there was a message from the minister that he had something to discuss with Tamsil,” said a witness, Iskandar Pasajo, known as Acoz. The meeting between Muhaimin and Tamsil took place at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Acoz said, and included the allocation of DPPID money.
Acoz, who is said to have close ties to Muhaimin, also said that a presidential secretariat staffer named Dhani Nawawi had, during a separate meeting, passed on a message that the minister was asking for a 2 percent “commitment fee” for DPPID projects.
Later in the hearing, two journalists from the daily newspaper Jurnal Nasional (Jurnas) were put under a cloud after one of them was heard in a wiretapped telephone recording as suggesting that Muhaimin’s name be kept out from the print media.
The chief prosecutor played tapes of wiretapped recordings made by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), ostensibly of Acoz speaking to a journalist identified in court as Rusman Manyuk.
Recorded on Aug. 16, 2011, the tape suggested that Rusman seemed to acquiesce to Acoz’s request not to publish the news on Jurnas’s front page.
“The Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration is currently placing advertisements with us at Jurnas. Muhaimin frequently places advertisements with us, because he is an SBY [President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] man,” said the tape-recorded voice the KPK identified as Rusman’s.
“If possible, the [news] will stop at Nyoman, not reach as far as the minister,” the journalist agreed on the tape.
The voice then went on to say that his Jurnas colleague, Imam Syukri, had been tasked with ensuring that Muhaimin’s name was kept out of news reports.
Neither journalist was present in the courtroom.
Jurnas’ editor-in-chief, Asro Kamal, denied that any arrangement was reached to keep the minister’s name off the front page.
Asro said on Thursday that the paper’s management had called in the journalists and had asked them to explain themselves.
“From their statements, there was no agreement with Acoz to do with the case. No deals or commitments,” Asro said.
“The proof is that news of this case has been placed on our front page as well as inside. There is no connection between Jurnas and this case.”
Press Council member Bekti Nugroho said an investigation would be launched to verify the cover-up allegations and sanctions would be handed if any violation of the journalistic code of ethics was found.[]
Journalists Involved in Manpower Minister Cover Up Journalists Involved in Manpower Minister Cover Up Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on February 03, 2012 Rating: 5

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