Semarang mayor to be tried in Jakarta
JAKARTA: The Supreme Court has granted a request from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to try Semarang’s suspended mayor Soemarmo Hadi Saputro in the Jakarta Corruption Court instead of in Semarang.
The antigraft body expressed concerns that Semarang Corruption Court would not be impartial in its proceedings.
KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto said that Soemarmo still had a lot of local support. “The relocation is to maintain the judges’ independence and integrity,” he said.
Bambang said the KPK believed the trial of the Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician in Jakarta would “be more objective and independent. When Semarang Corruption Court tried the city secretary Akhmat Zaenuri, the proceedings descended into chaos with noisy protests by the defendant’s supporters.
Both Akhmat and Soemarmo were charged with bribing local councilors to help expedite deliberation of the proposed Semarang city budget, which increased the amount of earmarks for government employees’ wages.
Johan Budi, KPK spokesman, however, dismissed suggestions that the KPK was intimidated by Soemarmo’s supporters, saying the move was a matter for the Supreme Court. “The Supreme Court has the authority to do so and they have granted their permission,” he said.
This is the first time the KPK has moved a trial to Jakarta since a local graft tribunal in Bandung of West Java acquitted Bekasi mayor Mochtar Mohamad in Sept. 2011.
The 2009 Corruption Court Law allows for graft tribunals to be held at the local level. The new system, however, has been a bane to the country’s anti-corruption fight with many graft defendants acquitted, including former Sragen regent Untung Wiyono by the Semarang Corruption Court.