National

Golkar politicians stand
trial

Five former lawmakers from the Golkar Party stood trial on Thursday for accepting bribes in a high-profile vote-buying case centering on the election of a senior Bank Indonesia official.

The politicians —Asep Ruchimat Sudjana, Teuku Muhammad Nurlif, Baharuddin Aritonang, Reza Kamarullah and Hengky Baramuli— allegedly accepted bribes paid in exchange for their votes for Miranda S. Goeltom to be elected senior deputy governor post in 2004.

In their indictment read out at the Corruption Court, prosecutors from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said the five defendants had accepted bribes as payment for them to abuse their power as state officials.

“The five defendants have been individually and collectively accepting bribes in form of traveler’s checks from Nunun Nurbaeti through Arie Malangjudo,” prosecutor Suwarji said.

He said that Nunun, a businesswoman, had delivered 36 traveler’s checks, each worth Rp 50 million (US$5,750), to the lawmakers. Arie, he read, had acted as a middleman in the bribery.

The prosecutors also charged them with accepting gifts as a result of their position.

Either offense could see them sentenced to five years in prison, as stipulated by the 1999 Anti-Corruption Law.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) named as suspects 25 current and former legislators for allegedly accepting bribes in the same case in September last year. All have been in detention at the KPK since February.

The scandal, which also implicates Golkar legislator Paskah Suzetta and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle’s (PDI-P) Panda Nababan, has generated criticism because the antigraft body has not identified those who bribed the politicians.

The court sentenced four other legislators in May last year in the same case. They received various jail terms ranging from one-year-and-a-half to two-years-and-a-half.

Nunun, the wife of Comr. Gen. (ret) Adang Daradjatun, a legislator from the House of Representatives’ Commission III who was at the time National Police deputy chief, has not been found.

She reportedly suffered from a bout of “severe forgetfulness” and has been undergoing treatment for that condition in Singapore since February last year.

Prosecutors said that all the five Golkar politicians, along with the other suspects, knew that the distribution of the total 95 traveler’s checks worth Rp 4.75 billion was related to Miranda’s election bid.

A fit and proper test was conducted on three candidates for the BI senior deputy governor post, including Miranda, Hartadi Agus Sarwono and Budi Rochadi. The House then voted to appoint Miranda to the post by 41 votes, while Budi got 12 votes and Hartadi one.

On Thursday, defendant Hengky and Baharuddin said that they would file demurrers against the two charges. All of this time, they only convicted the bribe recipients, while failing to name the briber. So, I’d say they cannot build the case using bribery charges,” Maqdir said after the trial.

He said the court had previously only been able to prove that the four former legislators were guilty of accepting gifts as a result of their positions. “And the court failed to prove they were bribed,” he said.

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