Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Fri, January 24 2014, 8:02 AM
A witness testified at the Jakarta Corruption Court on Thursday that disgraced former Constitutional Court chief justice Akil Mochtar’s price for issuing favorable rulings in disputed local election cases was steep.
Graft suspect Chairun Nisa, a Golkar Party lawmaker who was arrested together with Akil, said that the former justice had used her as a go-between to ask Gunung Mas regent Hambit Bintih for Rp 3 billion (US$261,000) to reject an appeal filed by the regent’s opponents following the race.
She said after she did not respond to an initial request from Akil instructing her to ask Hambit for money, “Pak Akil then texted me again and wrote ‘tell the regent to bring three tons of gold’,” Chairun said. Akil used “gold” to refer to cash.
Chairun, who was testifying as a witness in the trial of Hambit and businessman Cornelis Nalau Antun, said that Hambit then asked her to persuade Akil to lower his fee.
“I told Hambit that I would try to talk to Akil,” she said.
“I said [to Akil] through a text message, ‘can we just make it Rp 2.5 billion or Rp 2 billion?’”
Akil, she said, rejected Hambit’s request, demanding Rp 3 billion to throw out the appeal.
When a court judge asked her how she came up with the figure of Rp 2.5 billion, Chairun said: “Pak Hambit asked me to haggle, so I asked Pak Akil to please lower the amount to the price he charged in the Palangkaraya mayoral election, which was Rp 2 billion,” she said.
The judge later read out the case dossier, which revealed that Akil had insisted on charging Hambit Rp 3 billion because he considered the Gunung Mas regency as “richer” than Palangkaraya.
“He is richer than the mayor of Palangkaraya [Muhammad Riban Satia]. Rp 3 billion is peanuts [for Hambit],” read a text message sent from Akil to Chairun that the judge read aloud from the dossier.
Chairun also said that she had known Rp 2 billion was the “established price” for winning an election dispute case at the Constitutional Court from her colleague Rusliansyah, the head of the Palangkaraya Golkar Party chapter.
In her testimony, Chairun also alleged that Golkar Party secretary-general Idrus Marham and fellow Golkar lawmaker Mahyudin were the middlemen who had passed the Rp 2 billion bribe from Satia to Akil.
Chairun will stand trial later for her role in the Gunung Mas regency bribery case.
Akil was arrested in October last year by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for suspected bribery in two election disputes under review by the Constitutional Court.
He allegedly received Rp 3 billion in connection with Central Kalimantan’s Gunung Mas regency election dispute and Rp 1 billion related to Banten’s Lebak regency election dispute.
Akil has also been implicated in a graft case related to a dispute filed in a mayoral election in Palembang, South Sumatra, and in the election of Empat Lawang regent in the province.
The KPK has also charged Akil with money laundering.
The KPK has confiscated several of Akil’s assets, including a house and a plot of land in Petanahan, Kebumen regency, Central Java; his family home at Jl. Pancoran Indah III No. 8, South Jakarta; a 6,000-square-meter mahogany tree plantation in Cimuleuk village, Waluran, Sukabumi; and a 12,600 square-meter plot of land in Singkawang, West Kalimantan. The commission has also seized 33 cars and 31 motorcycles allegedly connected to Akil.
Akil is expected to testify in the trial of Hambit and Cornelius next week.