Akil charged with money laundering

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Fri, February 21 2014, 8:19 AM

The accused: Former Constitutional Court chief justice Akil Mochtar listens to his indictment at the Jakarta Corruption Court, Thursday. Prosecutors accused him of accepting more than Rp 57 billion (US$4.8 million) in bribes from regional chiefs wanting to win their election dispute cases. (JP/Jerry Adiguna)

Former Constitutional Court chief justice Akil Mochtar was charged by the Jakarta Corruption Court with rigging election disputes and money laundering, which carry a maximum 20-year sentence.

In the trial’s first hearing on Thursday, Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors accused Akil of collecting Rp 57 billion (US$4.8 million) from rigging 10 elections and laundering a total of Rp 180 billion — Rp 160 billion during his term at the court and Rp 20 billion when he was a lawmaker at the House of Representatives.

The local elections — which Akil attached a price tag of upward of Rp 500 million to Rp 20 billion — include Lebak regency with a bribe of Rp 1 billion; Gunung Mas regency (Rp 3 billion), South Lampung regency (Rp 500 million); Palembang city (Rp 19.8 billion), Empat Lawang regency (Rp 10 billion and US$500,000), Buton regency (Rp 1 billion), Morotai Island regency (Rp 2.9 billion), Central Tapanuli regency (Rp 1.8 billion) and Banten province (Rp 7.5 billion).

“East Java province [candidates] should have paid him Rp 10 billion but the promise did not materialized because he was arrested [by the KPK],” prosecutors, reading the indictment, said.

Prosecutors also said that Akil illegally extorted Papua Deputy Governor Alex Hesegem for a local election phone consultation in 2010, requiring him to pay a total of Rp 125 million.

Akil, who was a Golkar Party lawmaker from 1998-2009, was elected as a Constitutional Court justice in 2008 before assuming the top job in April 2013, just six months before he was arrested by the KPK.

Prosecutors also said that Akil charged a hefty price and extorted Morotai regent Rusli Sibua, of which the regent was only able to pay Rp 3 billion, a payment that made Akil less than happy.

Akil also actively contacted local leaders, who had submitted case files to the court, to send him the “required” money for his ruling. Should the local leaders not heed his request, he would turn to the next candidate willing to pay him more.

“Can you meet me at my house? This is urgent. If not, I will rule a re-election for the East Java gubernatorial election,” said prosecutors when reading Akil’s text message, as stated in the indictment, in which he contacted Zainuddin Amali, the Golkar Party East Java branch head, who demanded Akil rule in favor of the party-backed candidate Soekarwo.

The prosecutors said Akil’s decision to rig the election was out of greed as his legal income from October 2010 to October 2013 was Rp 8.6 billion.

Prosecutors alleged Akil laundered money though various channels including a company run by his wife, the purchase of cars and by lending money to friends, which prosecutors claimed to be underhand efforts to hide his illicit assets.

For example, Akil directly asked Tubagus Chaeri “Wawan” Wardana, the younger brother of ousted Banten governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah, to transfer money to CV Ratu Samagat, a company “owned” by Akil’s wife in October 2011 in exchange of his ruling on the Banten poll dispute.

“He asked [Wawan] to name the transfer as a ‘fee for transportation and fee for the rent of heavy equipment’,” the prosecutors said.

More illicit money is said to have financed a number of car showrooms belonging to businessman Muhtar Effendi, who is suspected of acting as Akil’s middleman by demanding “fees” from local politicians in exchange for favorable rulings.

The KPK confiscated 25 cars and 31 motorbikes from a number of car showrooms run by Muhtar in Novermber 2013 as they were allegedly linked to money laundering activities. It also seized land and buildings in Pontianak and paddy fields in South Singkawang, both in West Kalimantan, and a plantation in Sukabumi, West Java, allegedly owned by Akil.


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