Probe into high-profile graft case stalls at prosecutor’s office

Haeril Halim and Yuliasri Perdani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Thu, February 20 2014, 7:35 AM

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) on Wednesday denied allegations that the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office was being sluggish in the handling of a graft case implicating the son of a minister from the ruling Democratic Party (PD).

The graft case in question centers on the procurement of jumbotrons for multimedia digital advertisement (Videotron) at the Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry, which is headed by PD executive chairman Syariefuddin Hasan.

Syarief’s son, Riefan Avran, runs the company that won the Rp 23 billion (US$1.9 million) project.

Thus far, the prosecutor’s office has only named three suspects who many have deemed to be “small fish” in the case.

Calls have mounted for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to take over the case due to allegations that the prosecutor’s office has bowed to pressure from the PD-led government.

“Please let the prosecutor’s office prove its commitment to solving the case,” AGO spokesman Setia Untung Arimuladi said on Wednesday in response to calls from antigraft watchdog groups that want the KPK to take over the case.

The Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (FITRA) slammed the AGO and the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office for their failure to summons Syarief, whose testimony it claimed was important for the investigation.

“Even if the prosecutor’s office finally resolves the case, its highest achievement will be that it only prosecuted the ‘small fishes’, leaving the ‘big fishes’ untouched because of their political power. The case should be given to the KPK to satisfy the public,” FITRA chairman Uchok Sky Khadafi said on Wednesday.

Ucok said that the prosecutor’s office “lacked the confidence to name other suspects” in the case, referring to Riefan, whom FITRA considered to be responsible for the graft scheme.

An audit conducted by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) on May 3 last year found the project to be marred with irregularities, including the procurement of many fictitious items and items that were below standard.

KPK spokesman Johan Budi said that the antigraft body was ready to take over the case.

“But I would have to check the information in the case first,” Johan told reporters on Wednesday.

Syarief did not return a call from The Jakarta Post when asked to comment on the case.

On Dec. 24, 2013, the prosecutor’s office questioned Riefan as a witness in the case, despite calls mounting for prosecutors to name him a suspect.

Prosecutors have named three suspects in the case: Hasnawi Bachtiar, an official at the ministry; Kasiyadi, a member of the procurement committee at the ministry; and Hendra Saputra, an office boy at
PT Imaje Media, who was listed as a company executive director.

Head of the prosecutor’s office, Adi Toegarisman, told a press conference on Wednesday that investigators would not name other people suspects in the case without any strong evidence.

“Be patient, the investigation is still ongoing,” he said.


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