JAKARTA - South Tangerang Mayor Airin Rachmi Diany remained philosophical on Wednesday after digesting the news that her husband, Tubagus “Wawan” Chaeri Wardana, would be charged with money laundering over his alleged involvement in a crooked medical equipment procurement scheme. “One’s job, wealth and challenges all come from Allah and belong to Allah,” she said.
Anti-corruption investigators are not so sure. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) believes at least some of Airin’s substantial wealth - a staggering Rp 103.9 billion ($8.7 million) - came from a far less virtuous source. Wawan, the brother of detained Banten Governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah, has been charged in connection with two high-profile graft cases: the rigging of medical equipment contracts and an attempt to pay-off disgraced Constitutional Court chief justice Akil Mochtar for a favorable verdict in a disputed election in Lebak district, Banten.
Wawan is currently detained in one of the KPK’s detention centers. Airin has been questioned multiple times by the KPK but has not been charged in connection with any of her husband or sister-in-law’s alleged criminal activities.
Charges are mounting against the family. On Monday, Ratu Atut learned that she would face an extortion charge in addition to charges that she attempted to bribe Akil Mochtar, the former chief of the Constitutional Court, to fix an electoral dispute in the Lebak district of Banten province.
Charging Wawan with money laundering was a significant move on the part of the KPK. The emboldened antigraft commission has used the charge to track down the combined wealth of corruption suspects in the past, compiling a thorough docket of charges and seizing the assets of those convicted of their alleged crimes. Investigators used the law to uncover Rp 200 billion in assets belonging to convicted two-star police general Djoko Susilo - the richest corruption suspect caught by the KPK to date.
Mayor of South Tangerang city, Airin Rachmi Diany, states that her wealth came from God. The anti-corruption watchdog KPK thinks differently and is investigating.
The KPK has not begun to seize the couple’s assets and, judging by the family’s wealth, an investigation into possibly graft-tainted purchases will likely take some time.
Airin and her husband have a declared wealth of Rp 103.9 billion, according to official wealth reports (LHKPN) filed last year. The couple own 102 plots of land and property worth Rp 59,8 billion in Bandung, Bogor, Jakarta, Serang and South Tangerang. They also own apartment units in the Capital Residence in Jakarta valued at around Rp 2.4 billion, according to the Indonesian investigative news magazine Tempo.
Wawan and Airin own an eye-rolling 16 cars between them, including a 2007 Ranger Rover Sport (Rp 2.1 billion), a 2008 Mercedes Benz (Rp 1.58 billion), a 2009 Lamborghini (Rp 9 billion), a 2010 Toyota Alphard (Rp 1.3 billion), a 2008 Mini Cooper (Rp 600 million) and a 2010 Toyota Fortuner (Rp 459 million).
The KPK earlier this week raided his house in Jalan Denpasar in Kuningan, South Jakarta, and found more cars: two Ferraris, a Lamborghini Aventador, a Nissan GTR, a Bentley, a Rolls Royce, a Lexus, a Toyota Innova, a Toyota Land Cruiser, a Toyota Camry and one Harley Davidson motorbike.
In another raid of Wawan’s Bali Pacific Pragama company office in Mega Kuningan, South Jakarta, KPK investigators found 200 land certificates for addresses in Banten, Jakarta and Australia.
It’s a sizable haul for a family of public officials, but in-line with the KPK’s allegations that Ratu Atut and her brother are guilty of widespread corruption in Banten province. The governor has had the province sewn-up for years, allegedly parachuting members of her family and inner circle into mayoral and district-head seats as a way of consolidating what antigraft activists and national law enforcers say amounts to a family fiefdom.
The KPK maintains that industrial-scale corruption was a family affair for Ratu Atut. Data from Indonesia Corruption Watch indicates companies owned by Ratu Atut’s family controlled public projects in Banten worth $100 million. The antigraft watchdog alleged that Banten government officials successfully stole Rp 34.9 billion in public funds in a single year, skimming off some 30 percent of the central government’s allocation for community organizations and social aid programs in the province.
Airin Rachmi Diany was born on Aug. 28, 1976. She studied law at University of Padadjaran, in Bandung, before taking a Master’s degree in corporate law at the same university. She married Wawan in 1997.
Airin began her career as an assistant to a partner at law firm Imas Tarisyah. In 2004, she became a solicitor in the Tangerang district government and was promoted in 2008, gaining the authority to sign off land transfers in the district.
She ran for office in and was elected mayor of South Tangerang - by a tight margin of only 1,000 votes - for a five-year term in 2011.