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02:17 PM, May 29, 2017
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Indonesia Names Three High-Ranking Military Officials In AugustaWestland VVIP Chopper Scam
Indonesian military chief General Gatot Nurmantyo

Three high ranking military officials have been named as suspects in a scam that involved inflating the price of AugustaWestland AW-101 helicopter meant for ferrying VVIPs, the Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Gen. Gator Nurmantyo said on Friday.

The three Air Force personnel suspects in a graft case related to the procurement of the AW 101 helicopter, includes deputy governor of the Air Force Academy and the Air Force commander of operations, The Jakarta Post reported Sunday.

The purchase of a VVIP helicopter from Italian-British manufacturing company Agusta Westland is likely to have involved several high-ranking Air Force personnel, Nurmantyo said Friday.

Gatot said the three suspects could be charged with insubordination, misuse of authority, embezzlement and forgery. The case allegedly inflicted Rp 220 billion (US$16.52 million) in state losses caused by mark ups in the Rp 738 billion project, he said.

“This is only an initial investigation, and there may be a possibility of other suspects. The investigators are probing the flow of funds regarding the procurement of the AW 101,” Gatot said at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) building on Friday.

In 2015, then Air Force chief Marshal Agus Supriatna reportedly said the purchase was part of a strategic plan of the Indonesian Air Force and was not made based on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s request.

“Don’t let this be politicized by saying that this is for the President. This was my plan so that VVIP officials wouldn’t have to bow too low [when entering a helicopter]. If the President doesn’t want to use it, I will use it,” Agus said in November 2015.

The purchase was in line with the allocated budget, he added.

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