Bekasi secretary attorney
protests verdict

The attorney for a Bekasi municipal official sentenced to prison for three years on Monday said the verdict was unfair when compared to other big corruption cases.

“There is no clear measure in determining the sentence for people convicted of corrpution. No clear standard. For example, bigger corruption convicts, such as in the traveler’s checks case received only lighter sentences,” attorney Sirra Prayuna said after judges issued a verdict in Bekasi municipality secretary Tjandra Utama Effendi’s case on Monday.

Sirra referred to a vote-buying scandal involving traveler’s checks and dozens of House of Representatives legislators.  The Golkar Party’s Hamka Yandhu eceived the heaviest sentence in the scandal to date: thirty months’ imprisonment.

The Corruption Court sentenced Tjandra to three years’ imprisonment for bribery - six months less than prosecutors demanded.

“The court finds that the defendant has been proven guilty of bribery during his tenure and sentences him to three years in prison,” presiding judge Tjokorda Rai Suamba said at the hearing.

Tjandra was found guilty of paying Rp 400 million (US$44,800) in bribes to two West Java Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) officials: auditing sub-directorate head Suharto and auditor Enang Hernawan.

The bribes were paid to the auditors in May and June to secure their positive evaluation of the municipality’s 2009 financial report.

Tjandra gave Rp 200 million to Suharto and Enang through Bekasi municipal officials-cum-middlemen Herry Lukmantohari and Herry Suparjan on May 21.

One month later, Tjandra borrowed money from the National Sports Committee’s Bekasi branch to pay for a second bribe and asked the middlemen to deliver Rp 200 million to Suharto at his house in Bandung.

The Corruption Eradication Commission caught the three after the hand-over and confiscated the bribe money from a bag during a raid.

The court also ordered Tjandra to pay Rp 100 million in state restitution or serve an additional three months in prison. (ipa)

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