Many were surprised when the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) searched the Lippo Group big boss house and apartment James Riady. That the Lippo group was caught several times to pay bribes to launch its projects and businesses, it really happened. That some Lippo officials were arrested for bribery, it has become a legal fact and is publicly known.
But when the KPK dared to disturb, once again disturbing - not touching - James Riady, really an extraordinary legal and political event. Riady's extended family, and of course James, are not "ordinary people".
Some people who know him call James a human who has never "touched the ground." When traveling to various cities James always uses his private plane parked at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport, Jakarta. And from Halim he used a private helicopter to return to his home in the Lippo Karawaci area, Banten. Likewise for his activities in Jakarta, he will choose a location where there is a helipad for landing the helicopter.
Although not included in the group that is often referred to as "9 Dragon" (Gang of Nine) entrepreneurs, the Riady family cannot be considered playing games. They are big "dragons", both in terms of business, and their influence politically.
This family is not a local player, who is only good at home. Its influence extends widely, even successfully penetrated the White House, a symbol of power in the superpower of the United States (US). The Riady family is a close friend of US President Bill Clinton. Their relationship has been established long before, since Clinton was still governor of the state of Arkansas (1986). They are often referred to as Arkansas Connection.
In 2001 James Riady was banned by the US government for being proven to have violated the limits of giving donations to presidential candidates (Clinton) from foreigners. The Lippo Group was also fined USD 8.6 million, the biggest fine in the history of campaign violations in the US.
In Indonesia James is also known to be very close to power. He was also mentioned as one of the "arranger" of collecting political funds for candidates for president among tycoons. James is known to be very close to President Jokowi, and also the Chairperson of the PDI-P Megawati. Some of the photos circulating on the social media show how very close James and Jokowi are, as well as Megawatu,
The trace of James's closeness with Jokowi is at least confirmed in cases of fuss over the construction of the City of Meikarta. The Minister of Home Affairs Tjahjo Kumolo at that time briefly quipped the Deputy Governor of West Java, Deddy Mizwar, who questioned Meikarta's licensing. Tjahjo said that Deddy Mizwar was hampering investment.
While the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Panjaitan plunged directly "clearing up" the Meikarta affair. He tried to break through the licensing impasse because of the West Java Provincial Government's Spatial Detail Plan (RDTR). Luhut proposed Meikarta to be a Special Economic Zone (KEK).
By becoming a KEK, Meikarta will get various incentives and ease of investment. The toll road and red carpet are spread by the government, so that the construction of the biggest project in the history of the Lippo business can run without any obstacles, and by anyone.
Luhut's proposal was stuck. The Head of Bappenas Bambang Soemantri Brojonegoro refused, arguing that the area had developed into a metropolitan. Not worthy of being a SEZ.
Failing to make Meikarta a KEK. Luhut then looked for another way. He invited a number of officials, party officials and the media to attend Meikarta's topping off.
Luhut seems to want to show the public that the construction of Meikarta is not a problem. The central government fully supports. The consumer buyers who reportedly have reached hundreds of thousands, need not worry."I asked Mr. James about all licensing and land ownership issues. All have no problems, "Luhut said, (10/29/2017).
Luhut's presence at that time was questioned. What is the connection between a Maritime Coordinating Minister attending and inaugurating the "roof closure" of an apartment project. The case became interesting, because Deddy Mizwar explained that the topping off was done on the Orange County apartment project, not Meikarta.
Orange County, is another project from Lippo which is located not far from the planned Meikarta project location. For Meikarta there was no development at all. Well. After Lippo officials were arrested for bribes and James's home was ransacked, Luhut reacted lightly. "If it is a case, the KPK does its business, legal matters. But if it is an investment, we have to take care of it, "he said.
Seeing James's closeness to the authorities, an interesting question arose. What is really happening? Why did the KPK dare venture into the "forbidden place"? For Jokowi who is now eyeing the presidency for the second time, the role of people like James is very important.
The Jokowi-Maufuf National Campaign Team (TKN) has even announced that it will raise funds from the public. One of them is selling programs to tycoons. "We will sell Pak Jokowi's program, we will convey to him especially the tycoons," said Wahyu Sakti Trengono, general treasurer of Jokowi-Ma'ruf TKN.
James's commissioning by the KPK will certainly give a bad signal to other tycoons. There is no guarantee that close to power, will not be carded by the KPK. A number of regional heads who became Jokowi-Ma'ruf's success team were also arrested by the KPK. One of them was the Regent of Bekasi, Neneng Hasanah Yasin, who received a bribe from Lippo.
Speculation is growing that the KPK is likely to harass James, in an attempt to shift the issue. The KPK is currently under heavy pressure following the explosion of the "red book" tear investigation case by KPK investigators.
A number of investigative journalists who are members of Indonesialeaks said that in the red book there were a number of evidence of bribes to Indonesian officials, including National Police Chief Tito Karnavian. But seeing the magnitude and importance of James's position in Indonesia's power and politics, it seems that speculation is not strong enough. James's case was too big, if only to cover Tito's case. "This is the name of closing a disaster, with a disaster." Just as the government did, bailed out disaster victims' funds, owing to the World Bank.
If it's just a transfer of issues, the KPK is enough to make a scene by arresting several officials in the area. This is how the KPK is the champion. DPR Deputy Chairperson Fahri Hamzah once called the KPK the best at making dramas. Other speculations as to why the KPK interrupted James, because there were signs he was starting to "leave" Jokowi. So this is just a kind of warning, a warning to James and Lippo Group.
As entrepreneurs, figures like James are very sharp in their sense of smell where the pendulum of power swings. "Don't let them put all the eggs in the wrong basket." The main principle they hold is "money follows the winner." They will support anyone who has the most potential to win.
Is that true? Let's just wait for the development of this case. Aguan, aka Sugianto Kusuma, one of the businessmen who is often cited as a member of "9 Naga", was questioned and banned by the KPK, but the case did not continue. Will James's fate also end the same?
Having money, especially in large numbers, is the same as having great power. With power we can make law, and with the law in hand, we can build power. Money equals power; power makes the law, and the law makes government —Kim Stanley—