TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesian Ulema Council Chairman Amidhan Shaberah's claim that states he received no bribes from Australian halal certifiers, has been challenged by a man who gave him money on a trip to Australia in 2006. Mohammed El-Mouelhy, the President of Australia Halal Ceritification Authority, claimed that he gave AUS$28,000 (almost Rp 300 million) to Amidhan and six other MUI delegates so that his business would be authorized to certify halal meat.
In an interview with Tempo magazine this week, Amidhan stated that the costs of the trip were covered by the Religious Affairs Ministry. During the trip, the delegation surveyed six halal certification businesses. "As the request came from the Religious Affairs Ministry, the costs came charged from the state's budget," he said.
Mouelhy, upon reading the interview, sent Tempo receipts from payments to Amidhan from 2006. These added up to AUS$28,000, instead of the AUS$26,000 he previously thought he had given the MUI leaders, as reported in Tempo's 'High Cost of Halal Labels’ story this week.
He added that there were only five delegates that continued the survey after the first week, Ma'ruf Amin and Ichwan Sam were taking a plane back to Indonesia as soon as they arrived in Melbourne.
In a sworn statement before an accountant, Mouelhy stated that he had given Amidhan the largest share of the money.
He has also requested the state's audit board to investigate the case, under suspicion that Amidhan and other officials might have committed corruption. MUI itself has regulated that surveyors sent abroad will receive US$115 per person per day.
KARTIKA CANDRA | BHD