Indon Ulamas Accept Bribes in Milions of Rupiah to Issue Halal Licenses

The Indonesian Council of Ulamas (MUI) has accepted hundreds of millions of rupiah in bribes from Australian halal certification companies, a Tempo investigation has found.

The owners of several halal certification businesses in Australia have confirmed it is common to pay the MUI for the licenses.

“It’s common knowledge in Australia that in order to get authorization you have to bribe MUI officials,” Mohamed el-Mouelhy, president of the Sydney-based Halal Certification Authority told Tempo.

El-Mouelhy gave AUD $26,000 to seven MUI officials during a visit to Australia in 2006, of which “the largest share” went to Amidhan, he said.  He did not, however, receive authorization.

Australian Halah Food Services (AHFS), a Melbourne-based business, told Tempothey paid bribes to senior officials from MUI to renew their license to certify abattoirs as halal. These bribes range from smaller payments of AUD $3000 (around Rp. 31 million) to AUD $10,000 put directly in the bank account of MUI Chairman Amidhan Shaberah.

The accreditation process, which Amidhan also does for European halal-certifiers, is a free service, with the MUI expecting money to be put into the local Islamic community as recompense.

The AFHS was re-issued certification in 2013 after losing it for failing to uphold halal standards at slaughterhouses. When visiting abattoirs in Victoria certified by the AFHS in January, Tempo found halal meat being prepared in the same areas as pork, and beef not killed according to shariah law.


Facing a flood of accusations, MUI officials have denied the charges, asserting that the halal certification should be free of charge.

“We do not have cash for making the visit,” said LPPOM Director at MUI Lukmanul Hakim.

Hakim has also refuted profiteering allegations, saying that they “charge the host authority to cover the visit expenses”.

Meanwhile, Chief of Indonesia Ulema Counsel (MUI), Amidhan Shaberah, noted that “halal certification should be free of charge”.

Shaberah added that the same term should be applied to all halal certification institutes in other countries.

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim state where Muslims make up 86.1 percent of Indonesia’s 235 million population.

The Ulema council, established in 1975, has carved a key role for itself in the Muslim country.

The accusations have sparked outcry among the Indonesians who slammed MUI monopoly of the halal industry deeming its conduct as “haram”.



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