Jakarta governor surrenders guitar gift from Metallica
The heavy-metal-loving governor of Indonesian capital Jakarta has surrendered to anti-corruption authorities a guitar that was a gift from US band Metallica, an official said yesterday.
A beaming Joko Widodo appeared on TV plucking the maroon bass guitar given to him by Metallica's Robert Trujillo, which was autographed and bore the words "Giving Back!.. Keep Playin' That Cool Funky Bass!".
But the powerful Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said that Widodo, widely considered clean in a notoriously graft-ridden country, had now handed the gift to them.
"We will check if there is any conflict of interest or if there was an exchange of favours," commission spokesman Johan Budi said. "The screening process takes up to 30 days, and after that we will decide whether to return the guitar to him or confiscate it."
During the TV appearance Widodo, an anti-establishment figure who was elected in September, said he was a huge fan of Metallica, whose hits include Enter Sandman and Nothing Else Matters.
He also listed Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Napalm Death as among his favourite bands.
His spokesman Eko Hariadi said the guitar was the first gift Widodo had received since becoming governor. He handed it over voluntarily to be checked and there was no conflict of interest. "The governor loves rock music. So he was certainly happy to receive it. It's like getting a tennis racket from Boris Becker," the spokesman said, referring to the German tennis great.
"To him, it was a souvenir and there was no exchange for favours."
Corruption remains rampant in Indonesia and the country last year slid to 118th of 176 countries in Transparency International's annual graft index.