The antigraft body said that despite public pressure, corruption convict and former taxman Gayus H. Tambunan would likely not face money laundering charges, a crime that would place the burden of proof on the suspect.
“The 1999 Anticorruption Law limits placing the burden of proof on the suspect to cases of gratuity. We cannot use it for other corruption offenses,” Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) spokesman Johan Budi said Saturday.
He added that the KPK could not probe cases of money laundering as only the police had the mandate to do so. In a new precedent in the country’s judicial system, Bahasyim Assifie, another former tax official facing graft charges, had the burden of proof placed on him during his trial.
The South Jakarta District Court on Wednesday sentenced Bahasyim to 10 years in prison for money laundering and corruption, with the panel of judges arguing that he was unable to prove the source of funds amounting to more than Rp 60 billion (US$6.8 million) and $681,487 in foreign currency, which he had channeled to several accounts belonging to his wife and children.
The money was gained from money laundering, judges said. They also ordered the seizure of the money. Bahasyim’s 10-year sentence was lighter than the 15 years sought by prosecutors. Trisakti University criminal law and money laundering expert Yenti Garnasih said placing the burden of proof on Gayus on money laundering charges could be done.
“The anti-money laundering law allows for such a procedure, especially now with the new precedent in the Bahasyim trial,” she told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
Yenti called incidents of white collar crimes such as Gayus’ a serious offense and criticized prosecutors for not charging Gayus with money laundering in their last indictment.
“It is obvious that Gayus’ assets came from money laundering, as indicated in the PPATK [Financial Transaction Analysis and Reporting Centre] findings,” she added.
The PPATK said Gayus’ bank accounts contained extraordinarily large amounts money for an individual of his position, with one account containing Rp 28 billion and another containing Rp 74 billion.
The revelation led law enforcement officers to name Gayus as a suspect for receiving bribes from corporations in exchange for manipulating their tax payments.
The former low-ranking taxman, who left his police cell several times on illegal jaunts to Bali and abroad, was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison and fined Rp 300 million for tax evasion and bribing judges and police officers.
The KPK and National Police are currently conducting a joint investigation to probe the source of the rest of his money, dragging into the mess 151 companies whose tax appeals Gayus allegedly handled.
University of Indonesia criminal law expert Rudi Satrio said placing the burden of proof on the suspect could always be used in any money laundering and tax crime case.
“Law enforcement officers must be able to establish where the suspicious assets come from. In this case, the suspects must be able to prove where they got the money. Reversing the burden of proof is one of the most effective methods,” he told the Post.
The principle of reversed burden of proof is cited in both the 2002 Money Laundering Law and the Anticorruption Law.
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