KPK to summon Hatta on train graft case, if necessary

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is planning to summon Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa to seek clarification over his role in a train graft case the commission is investigating.

“Up to now, we do not have the schedule to summon Hatta,” KPK spokesman Johan told on Thursday. “But we will summon him when necessary.”

No information from Hatta or his staff was available regarding the summoning plan.

Hatta is now busy with his campaign to claim leadership of the National Mandate Party (PAN). The party is having its national congress in Batam, Riau Islands, from Friday until Sunday.

The congress is proceeded by a national working meeting Thursday.

Hatta would be summoned in his capacity as former transportation minister.

Hatta is considered to have known about the situation when the graft case, concerning the markup of transportation costs, worth about Rp 48 billion (US$5 million), of the Japanese government grant in the form of electric trains, took place in 2006-2007.

The Japanese government handed over the trains to the Indonesian government, which reportedly must bear the transportation costs.

So far, former director general of railway at the transportation ministry, Soemino Eko Widodo, has been named a suspect by the KPK since November.

Soemino is considered to have played a significant role behind the markup of the transportation costs.

Soemino has also been prevented from traveling abroad in a request submitted by the KPK to the Justice and Human Rights Ministry dated Dec. 8, 2009.

The immigration office, under the ministry, issued a prevention letter dated Dec. 10, 2009.

The case originated when the government signed a working contract to transport 60 used trains from train operators in Japan in November 2006.

These trains were no longer used by train operators as they did not comply with Japanese environmental regulations.

However, long after these trains had arrived and operated in Indonesia, it was said the KPK found a markup in the transportation costs that had been paid.

The Indonesian government continues to receive used electric trains from Japan because both countries have similar railway systems.

A series of witnesses have been summoned to clarify their role in the graft case.

On Wednesday, the KPK questioned secretary of the railway directorate general, Nugroho Indriyo, and former railway director general Wendi Aritenang in the case.

“They were questioned as witnesses in the case,” Johan told Antara on Wednesday.