Posted by: mel | January 13, 2010

Artalyta, Lampung’s undeniable ‘First Lady’

Jakarta Post | By Oyos Saroso H.N , Bandarlampung | The Archipelago | 13 January 2010

“Who can resist the First Lady’s generosity?” is the joke among journalists in Lampung when the news of Artalyta Suryani’s luxurious detention cell at Pondok Bambu Women’s Detention Center in Jakarta was revealed.

During an impromptu inspection on Sunday evening, the judicial corruption task force found the cell was equipped with luxurious facilities.

The joke implies one thing; that Artalyta, a businesswoman from Lampung who is dubbed the first lady by Lampung reporters, is apparently a kind-hearted person who often gives presents.

The arrest of Artalyta by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in a bribery case involving public prosecutor Urip Tri Gunawan in March 2008, startled her close circles, including reporters who had often turned to her as an “Automatic Teller Machine”.

“ATM” is a term used by Lampung journalists that refers to rich people who are generous with their money.

Not only journalists, but many leadership candidates in Lampung and officials who had once worked in Lampung also benefited from Artalyta’s ATM.

“The candidates obviously did not get the money freely, but regarded it as debt,” said Dandy, a former reporter of an investigative magazine published by an anticorruption group in Lampung.

“If reporters are given hundreds of thousands, officials get bigger amounts of cash.

“Artalyta’s karaoke parlor was always full. Patrons included journalists and officials from Jakarta on duty in Lampung.”

Dandy added the director general of the correctional institution, Untung Sugiyono, might know Ayin, as he was the Tanjungkarang prison warden in 1999.

Ayin apparently does not only enjoy lavish facilities in prison, but also manages her business in the real estate sector, despite being behind bars.

As proof, her real estate company PT BAS is currently resuming construction of an upscale housing complex in Bukit Camang, Bandarlampung.

“Despite public protest that excavation work has caused landslides and floods, the project continues,” said the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) campaign manager Mukri Friatna.

Born in the Chinatown area of Telukbetung, Bandarlampung 46 years ago, Ayin was raised among the Indonesian-Chinese community on Jl. Slamet Riyadi, also known as the Gudang Kaleng area. She is the fifth of eight children (the youngest of three daughters).

Her father is Susilo (deceased) and her mother, Mrs. Susilo, 79, is living with her second-eldest brother Aman at the family residence on Jl. Slamet Riyadi.

After her husband Suryadarma passed away in 1996, Ayin continued his property and trade businesses.

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