Detained bribery suspect Angelina Sondakh was taken to a hospital in Central Jakarta on Tuesday for sinusitis treatment. The Democratic Party lawmaker has allegedly been experiencing pains to her forehead for days.
She was brought to Proklamasi Otolaryngology (Perhati) Hospital from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) detention facility in South Jakarta at around 2:20 p.m.
“It relapses. I have had chronic sinusitis for a long time,” she told reporters as she was escorted by two KPK guards and a policewoman to a car.
Lucky Sondakh, Angelina’s father who had earlier visited Angelina in her cell, said it was due to allergies related to extreme weather.
He said that Angelina, along with other family members, had been shocked at her alleged involvement in the case. Angelina allegedly fixed the budget deliberations for the SEA Games’ sport facilities project and for the Education and Culture Ministry projects.
Lucky added that Angelina’s ailment was natural. He denied it was her effort to evade the law. “Being sick does not settle the problem,” he said.
KPK spokesman Johan Budi confirmed Angelina’s declining health, saying that a doctor provided by the KPK, Yohanes Hutabarat, found frontal sinus blockage in her left forehead after examining her yesterday.
“The KPK doctor referred her to the Perhati,” Johan said on Tuesday. “After the medical check, she will return to her detention cell immediately.”
Johan said his office had only allowed her out-patient treatment for sinusitis. The KPK, he added, would without doubt cover the hospital costs because she was in the custody of the KPK.
Apparently, it took only two hours for her treatment. KPK officers brought her back and they arrived at the KPK building at around 4:30 p.m. The former beauty queen smiled at reporters upon entry.
Angelina’s lawyer, Teuku Nasrullah, criticized what he called a slow response to treating his client. “They failed to take her right away after she complained. Do not let a suspect suffer from such an illness,” he said at the KPK building.
Angelina is not the first person to fall ill after being named a graft suspect by the KPK.
In early 2010, businesswoman Nunun Nurbaeti fled to Singapore, claiming to be seeking treatment for her “severe amnesia” just after the KPK summoned her as a witness for both questioning and a trial. She was finally arrested in Thailand in December 2011.
In mid-2011, former Bekasi mayor Mochtar Mohamad dodged KPK detention by requesting a court order for a city arrest due to “a coronary calcification”. A video on YouTube showed Mochtar throwing a celebration after his release. His lawyer Sira Prayuna confirmed the video was a celebration.
In March this year, Mochtar hid in Bali days before the KPK arrested him for refusing to turn himself in to serve his six-year prison sentence handed down by an appellate court.
Donal Fariz from Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) asserted that such ailments were not merely excuses to dodge the law. In Angelina’s case, he added, the new surroundings might have put her under pressure and triggered such an illness.
“Psychologically speaking, it is more likely that she feels depressed,” Donal told The Jakarta Post in a telephone interview. “It is obvious that she is not involved in the case alone. I’d say there are other politicians involved.”
Graft suspects using ill-health to evade justice
• Malinda Dee arrested on March 23, 2011
• Taken to hospital: May 26, 2011
• Diagnosis: hypertension and respiratory problems
• Malinda brought to the emergency room with swollen feet and blood pressure of 240/130, well above the normal 120/80 pressure for adults.
• On June 14, 2011, Malinda underwent surgery for breast inflammation
• On Aug. 18, 2011, Malinda returned to the criminal investigation detention unit at National Police headquarters.
Case: Embezzled Rp 44 billion (US$4.88 million) from clients at Citibank
Verdict: Eight years plus Rp 10 billion ($1.09 million) in fines and has to hand over her fleet of luxury sports cars to the bank.
• Muhammad Nazaruddin arrested in Cartagena, Colombia, on Aug. 8, 2011.
• Nazaruddin left for Singapore on May 23, a day before a ministry’s travel ban took effect. Nazaruddin said he had suffered a heart attack.
• On March 15, 2012, the Jakarta Corruption Court allowed Nazaruddin to get a medical checkup to examine his deteriorating health.
Case: Accepted Rp 4.6 billion linked to the construction of the SEA Games’ athletes’ village in South Sumatra.
Verdict: Four years and 10 months
• Nunun Nurbaeti arrested in Bangkok, Dec. 7, 2011
• On Dec. 12, 2012, During interrogation at the KPK office, Nunun claimed that she was feeling faint. She was taken to Metropolitan Medical Center (MMC), having spent just 45 minutes inside the KPK building. Nunun’s blood pressure had spiked and she complained of headaches and light-headedness. She was later transferred to the National Police’s Sukanto Hospital in East Jakarta.
• On Dec. 19, 2011, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) sent Nunun Nurbaeti back to the Pondok Bambu detention center in East Jakarta.
Case: Nunun allegedly ordered a subordinate to distribute traveler’s checks worth Rp 20.85 billion (US$2.27 million) to dozens of former lawmakers in exchange for votes for Miranda Swaray Goeltom for the Bank Indonesia senior deputy governor position in 2004.
Indictment: A four-year prison term
Source: The Jakarta Post