JAKARTA-- Indonesia's second largest party may convene an extraordinary meeting to replace its chairman, Parliamentary Speaker Setya Novanto, after an anti-graft agency ordered his arrest and detention over his suspected role in a corruption scandal, a senior party official said Monday.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) detained Novanto, 62, on Sunday night in connection with the alleged theft of U.S. $170 million in state funds from an electronic national identity card scheme.
In the interest of the party Golkar should hold an extraordinary national meeting to select a new party chairman, the chairman of the Golkar party's advisory board, Agung Laksono, told the Jakarta Globe.
Golkar, a partner in the ruling coalition, so far has not removed Novanto as party chairman, but Agung said he had urged members to support its secretary-general, Idrus Marham, who could become the acting chairman before Novanto's permanent replacement is found.
Novanto, who vanished for 24 hours as anti-corruption investigators issued a warrant for his arrest, turned up in a hospital emergency room on Thursday, claiming his car had hit a utility pole in South Jakarta.
He was arrested after KPK officials announced that his medical condition did not require hospitalization.
The Indonesian public, through social media, questioned whether the accident was staged to derail the graft investigation. The KPK had earlier failed to locate Novanto when authorities raided his home last Wednesday.
Novanto was among senior officials who allegedly received kickbacks from funds for a government project to issue national identification cards.
In July, the KPK announced that Novanto was suspected, along with other officials and several companies, of embezzling more than one-third of the 5.9 trillion rupiah (U.S. $443 million) allocated for the I.D. program known as e-KTP, between 2011 and 2012.
Novanto was taken to the KPK detention center following his arrest.
After he was first named as a suspect in the e-KTP case four months ago, he did not appear before the agency for questioning, saying then that he was ill and needed to undergo heart surgery.
The South Jakarta District Court annulled KPK's action against him following a pretrial hearing in September. On Nov. 10, KPK again named him a suspect.
Novanto's lawyer said he had filed a pretrial motion against the allegations.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK