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Antigraft body arrests
bankruptcy judge for bribery

Judicial graft suspect:: The Central Jakarta Commercial Court judge handling bankruptcy cases, Syarifuddin, leaves the office of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) after being questioned in Jakarta on Thursday. He was arrested earlier by the KPK after he was caught accepting a Rp 250 million (US$29,250) bribe.JP/Wendra Ajistyatama
Judicial graft suspect:: The Central Jakarta Commercial Court judge handling bankruptcy cases, Syarifuddin, leaves the office of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) after being questioned in Jakarta on Thursday. He was arrested earlier by the KPK after he was caught accepting a Rp 250 million (US$29,250) bribe.JP/Wendra Ajistyatama

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested a bankruptcy judge from the Central Jakarta Commercial Court for accepting bribes during the asset confiscation process of PT Skycamping Indonesia.

The judge, identified as Syarifuddin, was caught red-handed Wednesday night accepting Rp 250 million (US$29,250) in bribes from Puguh Wirawan, the curator in the confiscation process, in his official residence in Sunter, North Jakarta.

“KPK investigators arrested the judge after the transaction,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi said Thursday at a press conference.

“He did not resist, but refused to admit he accepted [a bribe].”

Syarifuddin supervised the sale of confiscated assets of bankrupt companies. Skycamping Indonesia’s assets comprised of two plots of land in Bekasi, West Java, valued at Rp 16 billion and Rp 9 billion, Johan said.

On the night the KPK team stormed the house, Puguh was already in his car and managed to flee.

A car chase ensued and the KPK managed to corner Puguh in Pancoran, South Jakarta, at around 11 p.m.

The two suspects were immediately taken to KPK headquarters in Kuningan, South Jakarta, where they were questioned. Investigators named them suspects at around 2 p.m. on Thursday.

KPK investigators also questioned both suspects’ drivers and confiscated the bribe money in three envelopes in a red paper shopping bag from the house, as well as Puguh’s white Mitsubishi Pajero.

“At the house, KPK investigators also found foreign currency amounting to US$84,000, S$284,000, ¥20,000 and 12,600 baht as well as Rp 141 million in a black bag, in drawers and in envelopes,” Johan said.

Indonesia has only one commercial court in Jakarta — also known as the bankruptcy court — since the bankruptcy law came into effect in October 1998.

Since then, the commercial court has declared dozens of companies bankrupt, but most of them were small companies, while larger companies have fared better.

Syarifuddin is not the first member of the judiciary to be arrested for accepting bribes in cases they handle.

In February, the KPK arrested Tangerang prosecutor Dwi Seno Wijanarko for accepting bribes while in August 2010, the Corruption Court sentenced then Jakarta State Administrative High Court judge Ibrahim to six years in prison and fined him Rp 200 million for receiving Rp 300 million in bribes from a palm oil entrepreneur.

The same court in September 2008 also sentenced state prosecutor Urip Tri Gunawan to 20 years in prison for accepting bribes from businesswoman Artalyta Suryani in exchange for dropping an investigation into tycoon Sjamsul Nursalim’s involvement in a high-profile graft case surrounding the alleged embezzlement of the Bank Indonesia liquidity support (BLBI).

The Judicial Commission called on the Supreme Court to release Syarifuddin from his post at commercial court,

“Syarifuddin should be placed on non-active status as per government regulation,” Judicial Commission deputy chairman Iman Anshori Saleh said Thursday. “This is also to facilitate the KPK investigation.”

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