EDITORIAL: Trial of the century
The Jakarta Post
If the Corruption Court hears on Wednesday the indictment of House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto in connection with the e-ID card project, the nation can expect to watch the trial of the century, not only because of the amount of money involved, but also the big names to which Setya will lead the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
The KPK is accusing Setya of enriching himself and others, and abusing his power as leader of the Golkar faction in the House in connection with the national program, which investigators believe incurred to Rp 2.3 trillion in losses to the state.
The KPK has named Setya a suspect for the second time after losing a pretrial battle in September and has detained him for fear he would destroy evidence. Setya, who is also the Golkar chairman, is resisting his prosecution. But when state prosecutors formally arraign him on Wednesday, his fight will be irrelevant, according to the Criminal Procedure Code.
Defendants in the high-profile graft case have testified against Setya in their respective trials, saying that the Golkar politician was a key player behind the embezzlement of state money. Graft convict and former Democratic Party treasurer who is allegedly the whistle blower in the e-ID card corruption case, Muhammad Nazaruddin, told the KPK that Setya arranged tender winners and beneficiaries by marking up the national project.
The Corruption Court has found former Home Ministry officials Irman and Sugiharto guilty in the case and sentenced them to seven and five years in prison, respectively, and is now trying entrepreneur Andi Agustinus, a business partner of Setya. The KPK has accepted Andi’s bid to act as a justice collaborator to disclose Setya’s role in the e-ID case.
The KPK will not rely on such a confession, but on incriminating evidence to convince the panel of judges to convict Setya. All the evidence will be unveiled, including the flow of money, which according to KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah, went to politicians and Home Ministry officials.
There have been questions about the goal of the KPK’s move against Setya, who in the past managed to slip through the antigraft body’s fingers in a number of corruption cases. Setya’s trial comes on the heels of a political year when Golkar badly needs a credible leader to regain public trust or crumble. The party is the first to have shown support for President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s reelection in 2019.
To rebuff allegations about certain political motives behind Setya’s prosecution, the KPK investigation into the e-ID card case should not end with him. For sure, Setya does not want to go down alone. Therefore, the KPK should take measures against people Setya may name at his trial.
There is a risk Setya’s trial will open Pandora’s box, which the KPK has to deal with if it is truly committed to eradicating corruption. The past graft trial of a political party leader or elite, however, used to stop at him or her, with the KPK unable or reluctant to link the case to the parties.
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