Halal Certification Bribery Allegations

September 7, 2015, 9:21 pm
The gatekeepers to Indonesia’s halal market have been accused of taking bribes from Australian certifiers seeking market access.

Halal certifier Mohamed El-Mouelhy has told ABC’s Four Corners program he paid $28,000 to a visiting group of officials from Indonesia’s leading halal approval body MUI in 2006.

Mr El-Mouelhy had organised for officials to tour Australia and meet with a group of local certifiers seeking access to the Indonesian market.

“In my mind … as an after fact, yes, it is a bribe,” Mr El-Mouelhy told the program.

But the MUI’s halal director Lukumanul Hakim denied the organisation accepts bribes – only money for travel expenses.

Certification approval is free.

The peak Islamic body, Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, also offered MUI $20,000 to help build a new office in 2013.

The council denied it was to gain access to Indonesia.

Halal means “permissible” in Arabic and relates to the food Muslims are allowed to eat.

The Four Corners program into the lucrative halal certification industry found profits from labelling charges were being used to build Islamic schools and mosques, including one in Indonesia.

But there was no proof it was funding terrorism, based on information from federal agencies.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce believes that should be enough to appease concerns about halal certification.