Sidoarjo Regent Named Suspect in Corruption Case, Sparking Political Shakeup

Sidoarjo Regent Gus Muhdlor named KPK suspect in corruption case involving tax incentive cuts, marking the third consecutive Sidoarjo regent embroiled in corruption, with political implications ahead of 2024 elections.

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Sidoarjo Regent Named Suspect in Corruption Case, Sparking Political Shakeup

Sidoarjo Regent Named Suspect in Corruption Case, Sparking Political Shakeup

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has named Ahmad Muhdlor Ali, the Regent of Sidoarjo, East Java, also known as Gus Muhdlor, as a suspect in a corruption case involving the cutting and receipt of tax and regional retribution incentive money at the Sidoarjo Regional Tax Service Agency (BPPD). The case, which began with a KPK investigation into alleged cuts in the incentives of state civil servants (ASN) at the tax service, has led to the arrest of 11 ASN and the seizure of Rp 69.9 million in cash during a sting operation in January 2024.

Gus Muhdlor, a cadre of the National Awakening Party (PKB), is suspected of being involved in the cutting and receiving of the money, with the investigation revealing allegations of manipulation of collections of at least Rp 2.7 billion. The KPK has issued a notification of the start of the investigation to further examine Muhdlor's involvement in the BPPD corruption case .

Why this matters: Gus Muhdlor is the third consecutive Sidoarjo regent to be involved in a corruption case, highlighting the issue of high-cost politics and corruption in East Java. The case is expected to significantly impact the political dynamics in Sidoarjo ahead of the 2024 regional elections.

In response to the KPK's decision, Gus Muhdlor plans to file a pre-trial lawsuit against the commission at the South Jakarta District Court. His legal team, led by Mustofa Abidin, stated that they have received a notification letter about the start of the investigation and are currently preparing legal actions. The KPK has welcomed the pre-trial lawsuit, emphasizing that the trial will only address the formal administrative requirements of the investigation, not the substance of the case.

The Director of Accurate Research and Consulting Indonesia (ARCI), Baihaki Sirajt, stated that the political map in Sidoarjo will change after the KPK's designation of Gus Muchdlor as a suspect. With his legal status, Gus Muhdlor is certain to fail to advance as a Candidate for Regent of Sidoarjo in November 2024. Baihaki sees the Vice Chairperson of the East Java DPRD, Anik Maslachah, as a rising candidate for the Regent of Sidoarjo in the future, provided that she is recommended by the DPP PKB.

Interim Governor of East Java, Adhy Karyono, has urged the public to wait for the legal process regarding the corruption case. KPK spokesperson Ali Fikri mentioned that the investigation team found the involvement of other parties in the alleged corruption case. The KPK has conducted a search of the Bupati's official residence as part of the investigation.

Gus Muhdlor, known for his efforts to develop pesantren (Islamic boarding school) education that balances spiritual and intellectual aspects, has stated that he will respect the KPK's decision and leave further steps to his legal team. During his tenure as Bupati, he proposed innovative programs, including collaborating with modern retail companies to utilize customer donation funds for the welfare of Sidoarjo residents and using the retail network to distribute products from local SMEs and village-owned enterprises (BUMDes).

Key Takeaways

  • KPK names Sidoarjo Regent Gus Muhdlor as suspect in BPPD corruption case.
  • Gus Muhdlor plans to file pre-trial lawsuit against KPK over investigation.
  • Gus Muhdlor's legal status likely to end his bid for re-election in 2024.
  • Anik Maslachah seen as potential PKB-backed candidate for Sidoarjo Regent.
  • East Java interim governor urges respect for legal process in Gus Muhdlor case.