Governor forced to return Metallica guitar over corruption fears

Kirk Hammett, left, and James Hetfield of Metallica. Photo/AP
Kirk Hammett, left, and James Hetfield of Metallica. Photo/AP

The Indonesian government will confiscate a Metallica guitar that was a gift to the heavy metal-loving governor of the capital Jakarta due to concerns about corruption, an official has said.

A beaming Joko Widodo appeared on TV earlier this month strumming the maroon bass guitar that had belonged to the US band's Robert Trujillo and was a gift from a concert promoter.

But following the TV appearance, the popular governor voluntarily handed the guitar, which bore the words "Giving Back!... Keep Playin' That Cool Funky Bass!", to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

Following an investigation into the instrument, in line with rules about gifts to officials, the commission said Tuesday the government will confiscate the instrument.

"The KPK has investigated and decided that the guitar will be confiscated by the government as there is a conflict of interest which could potentially lead to bribery," commission official Giri Supradiyono said.

"It will be state property."

He added: "The promoter probably knew he (Widodo) was a Metallica fan. There's a possibility he might expect something in return."

He added that the phrase "Giving Back" on the guitar also suggested a "possible exchange of favours".

During his TV appearance, the governor said he was a huge Metallica fan and also listed Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Napalm Death among his favourite bands.

Corruption remains rampant in Indonesia, particularly among public servants, and the country last year slid to 118th of 176 countries in Transparency International's annual graft index.

- AFP

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