Judge scolds ‘forgetful’

A Corruption Court hearing into a bribery case has heard that politicians from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) met privately with Miranda Swaray Goeltom to discuss her candidacy for a top job at the central bank.

Miranda, who testified as a witness during Thursday’s hearing, confirmed that the meeting had taken place, and that PDI-P senior member Panda Nababan and party treasurer Dhudie Makmun Murod had attending the meeting at Dharmawangsa Hotel in 2004.

However, she said she had forgotten the names of the other politicians present at the meeting.

Remaining composed and speaking articulately despite repeated interruptions from the panel of judges presided over by Suhartoyo, Miranda said the meeting had taken place at the hotel’s Bimasena club in May 2004, two months before the House conducted tests on Bank Indonesia (BI) candidates in July.

“[During the meeting], I presented my vision and mission and the things I wanted to improve should I be elected BI senior deputy governor,” Miranda said, adding that she had paid the bill for the private room, which cost Rp 1.3 million (US$152).

She said that she had also held similar meetings with other House factions.

PDI-P secretary-general Tjahjo Kumolo, another key witness in the trial of defendants Agus Condro, Max Moein, Rusman Lumbantoruan, Willem Tutuarima, and Poltak Sitorus, all former House members, also confirmed the Dharmawangsa meeting, adding that he had told the party’s members to vote for Miranda.

Tjahjo said that he had told legislators in House Commission IX overseeing banking affairs to support Miranda after a faction meeting that decided she was “experienced and had a good track record”.

However, Tjahjo denied bribes were discussed at the meeting. “I swear there was no such thing discussed [during the meeting],” he said.

Tjahjo’s statement was later challenged by defendant Agus Condro, a former PDI-P member who said that Tjahjo had led a faction meeting that discussed kickbacks promised by Miranda.

“Tjahjo was present at one of the meetings. He sat with the PDI-P inter-commission head and even led the meeting,” Condro told the panel of judges presiding over his trial.

“He said the PDI-P faction leaders had decided to support Miranda,” he said. “He also said that Miranda had agreed to pay Rp 300 million for votes for her and that she was prepared to pay Rp 500 million,” he added.

During the hearing, Miranda denied reports that she was close to Nunun Nurbaeti, the wife of former National Police chief Adang Daradjatun, claiming that she had only met her once four years ago after she was elected BI senior deputy governor.

But, Miranda said she “often met Nunun at fashion shows and social events”.

Nunun is believed to have arranged the delivery of traveler’s checks worth a total of Rp 24 billion (US$2.6 million) that were distributed to a number of legislators as payment for supporting the candidacy of Miranda.

Several people have been convicted of accepting the checks as bribes in return for their votes for Miranda.

Miranda maintained her composure throughout the hearing even when one of the judges reprimanded her for repeatedly claiming that she had forgotten details about the events, at one point pointing out that she was a graduate from a university in the United States.

Miranda appeared to lose her calm when the defense team asked her about the traveler’s checks.

“If I could scream, [I would shout that] this is not Miranda Goeltom’s case. I know nothing about that...
I never ordered anyone to hand out the checks. I never received any request from House members to distribute checks,” she said.

She lost her temper after the hearing when reporters asked her again about the checks.

Pointing her finger at a reporter who had asked a question about the checks, she said, “You want me to send you to jail, eh? Which witnesses have talked about that?”

More than 24 former and current lawmakers, mostly from the PDI-P, and government officials have been detained over allegations they received bribes in exchange for voting for Miranda. (awd)

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