TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Council of Ulamas (MUI) has accepted hundreds of millions of rupiah in bribes from Australian halal certification companies, a Tempo investigation has found.
The owners of several halal certification businesses in Australia have confirmed it is common to pay the MUI for the licenses.
"It's common knowledge in Australia that in order to get authorization you have to bribe MUI officials," Mohamed el-Mouelhy, president of the Sydney-based Halal Certification Authority told Tempo.
El-Mouelhy gave AUD $26,000 to seven MUI officials during a visit to Australia in 2006, of which "the largest share" went to Amidhan, he said. He did not, however, receive authorization.
Australian Halah Food Services (AHFS), a Melbourne-based business, told Tempothey paid bribes to senior officials from MUI to renew their license to certify abattoirs as halal. These bribes range from smaller payments of AUD $3000 (around Rp. 31 million) to AUD $10,000 put directly in the bank account of MUI Chairman Amidhan Shaberah.
The accreditation process, which Amidhan also does for European halal-certifiers, is a free service, with the MUI expecting money to be put into the local Islamic community as recompense.
The AFHS was re-issued cerfitication in 2013 after losing it for failing to uphold halal standards at slaughterhouses. When visiting abattoirs in Victoria certified by the AFHS in January, Tempo found halal meat being prepared in the same areas as pork, and beef not killed according to shariah law.
Read the full story in this week's edition of Tempo English Magazine.