KPK sets sights on local heads

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Mon, February 24 2014, 10:07 AM

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has pledged that all regional government heads who allegedly paid bribes to former Constitutional Court chief justice Akil Mochtar would be prosecuted.

Akil, who was arrested red-handed accepting a bribe in October last year, is currently standing trial for acquiring Rp 57 billion (US$4.8 million) from rigging 10 elections as well as for laundering a total of Rp 160 billion during his term at the court and Rp 20 billion when he was in the House of Representatives.

“As soon as the court proves that Akil accepted bribes, then we will launch new probes,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi said over the weekend.

Johan said that KPK investigators expected to collect more evidence and testimony with which to charge regional heads during Akil’s trial.

Of the 10 regional heads mentioned in the KPK dossiers who allegedly paid bribes to Akil, only the incumbent Gunung Mas regent, Hambit Bintih, has been arrested by the KPK so far.

Akil had overturned a decision by the Regional General Elections Commission (KPUD) of Lebak, which named Iti Octavia Jayabaya winner of the Lebak regency election, due to a Rp 1 billion bribe allegedly paid by candidate and incumbent deputy regent Amir Hamzah.

Amir, who was questioned in the KPK’s investigation of Akil, remains free. However, his lawyer, Susi Tur Andayani, and the alleged middleman in the case, younger brother of Banten Governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah, the businessman Tubagus Chaeri “Wawan” Wardana, have both been arrested. Atut, who allegedly instructed Wawan to pay Akil the Rp 1 billion in cash, has also been detained by the KPK.

In its investigation, KPK prosecutors also found that Wawan had paid Rp 7.5 billion to Akil to rule in favor of Atut in a challenge to her victory in the Banten gubernatorial election filed by three losing candidates.

In the first day of his trial on Thursday, Akil denied that he had adjudicated the Banten election dispute, passing blame onto his predecessor at the court, Mahfud MD.

“Don’t ask me, ask Mahfud,” Akil told reporters after his trial on Thursday.

According to Akil’s indictment, incumbent regent candidate Budi Antoni Aljufri and running mate Syahril Hanafiah of Empat Lawang regency in South Sumatra made cash payments to Akil of Rp 10 billion and $500,000 through middleman Muhtar Efendy to overturn an Empat Lawang KPUD decision naming Joncik Muhammad and his running mate Ali Halimi the victors in the election. Budi was questioned by the KPK last year.

Muhtar also allegedly delivered Rp 19.8 billion in bribe money from Palembang Mayor Romi Herton to Akil to overturn his loss in the city’s last mayoral election. The KPK has yet to detain Romi and Muhtar, but both are banned from overseas travel.

“East Java gubernatorial [candidates] intended to pay him Rp 10 billion, but the promise did not materialize because he [Akil] was arrested [by the KPK],” the indictment read, referring to incumbent candidate pair Soekarwo-Saifullah Yusuf. The money was supposed to be given to Akil through Zainuddin Amali, the Golkar Party East Java branch head.

One of Akil’s lawyers, Tamsil Sjoekoer, said that all the elected regional officials who paid bribes to Akil must be prosecuted.

“Those who paid bribes and middlemen who claimed to represent Pak Akil have to be charged and made to stand trial,” he said.


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