TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Despite being visibly tired, with bloodshot eyes, Setya Novanto still managed to smile when he visited the Tempo office on Wednesday last week. He had just returned from Bandung that day. He had left before sunrise from Jakarta and returned around midday. "Even though we had a siren, it still took three hours from Bandung to Jakarta," he said, referring to the siren in the car escorting Setya, who is now speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR).
Setya had come to clarify the flurry of news last week that he acquired funds from the Rp2.3 trillion electronic e-KTP (electronic ID cards) project. According to the charges filed by the prosecutor, as quoted by Koran Tempo newspaper, Setya allegedly received Rp540 billion. "After reading the charges, I thought it would be best to go to Tempo," he said, with a smile.
How did you know about the charges when they were not due to be read out by the prosecutor till tomorrow in court?
There was a circular to that effect. I was curious and asked to see it and was given that chance. So, yes, I had read it earlier.
The two-page version or the complete version?
The two-page one. Yes, it's enough for us to pray at this point. After thinking about it, I decided to come to Tempo.
You have been named in the corruption charges involving that electronic e-KTP project...
I read in Koran Tempo about the funding cycle, that I had received Rp540 billion. I was surprised to read that. I prayed. I never received those funds. Apparently (according to that information) from a meeting between Andi Narogong (Andi Agustinus), Anas Urbaningrum, Muhammad Nazaruddin and myself, that I was going the one to distribute certain amounts of money. When did I meet with Anas and Nazaruddin, let alone talk about the e-KTP?
You are close to Nazaruddin?
Not really. Just a regular acquaintance.
What do you remember about the e-KTP project?
At that time, I was chairman of the Golkar Party faction (in the DPR). I conveyed what I knew and heard. As faction chairman, I only get monthly reports. As long as it is for the national and public interest, not to mention that the e-KTP can be useful for passports and identify the victims of bombings, for me it was a good idea.
What about the budget?
There were also questions from KPK investigators about the budget. As faction chairman, the budget issues were left to (DPR) Commission II. In each commission, there is a member of the Budget Body and it is reported in there.
Many have said that the e-KTP project was a Golkar project...
I have not heard that. If the government proposes a project, it cannot be initiated by just one single faction.
According to the KPK, the e-KTP was worth Rp5.9 trillion, of which Rp2.3 trillion was corrupted...
I don't know. Where to put such money? If collected, it could fill this building. I don't understand. It is a matter for the investigators. (*)
Read the full interview in this week's edition of Tempo English Magazine