Govt loses another one to Yusril
Former justice and human rights minister Yusril Izha Mahendra won another high-stakes legal battle against the government on Thursday, as the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) ordered a stop to a graft probe implicating the former minister.
Attorney General Basrief Arief said on Thursday that prosecutors have issued a warrant to terminate the investigation (SP3) of a graft case involving an online business registration website in 2001 under the then Justice and Human Rights Ministry when Yusril was its chief.
“I received the information this morning that the investigation has been terminated,” Basrief said as quoted by Antara, declining to elaborate.
Separately, Yusril described the termination as too little, too late.
“The case should have been closed a long time ago, because there was not enough evidence to charge me as a suspect,” Yusril told reporters at his office in one of Jl. Gatot Subroto’s high-rises in Jakarta.
Yusril said that the AGO should have not pursued the case against him after it released three defendants in the case, given that he was only alleged to have been an accomplice.
The AGO had named Yusril as a suspect in the case involving the wesbite’s operators: the ministry and a private company, PT Sarana Rekatama Dinamika (SRD), which was owned by businessman Hartono Tanoesoedibjo.
The AGO previously said that the company had cost the state Rp 420 billion (US$46.6 million) in losses.
Three people have been tried in the case: ministry general legal administration chief Romli Atmasasmita; his successor, Syamsuddin Manan Sinaga; and Yohanes Waworuntu, the director of Sarana Rekatama Dinamika.
The Supreme Court acquitted Romli, while upholding the convictions of Syamsuddin and Yohanes.
The AGO also previously named Yusril and Hartono suspects in the case.
Yusril’s lawyers denied that the investigation was ended for political reasons.
“This is not the result of horse trading. Since the very beginning, we have pursued all legal measures, including going to the Constitutional Court,” Maqdir Ismail, one of Yusril’s lawyers, said.
Yusril confirmed that he talked about the case with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during a private meeting at the President’s home in Cikeas in Bogor, West Java, two weeks ago.
“In Cikeas, he [Yudhoyono] asked me questions about my legal status. I didn’t intend to bring up the case, but he asked me about it first,” Yusril said.
Only days after the meeting, the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) ordered the government to suspend the inauguration of a new governor in Bengkulu to replace one of Yusril’s clients, Agusrin Maryono Najamudin, who was previously dismissed for graft.
Yusril vs the AGO
Jan. 31, 2001: An online registration system (sisminbakum) went online, operated by the then Justice and Human Rights Ministry and PT Sarana Rakatama Dinamika, a private company part-owned by Hartono Tanoesoedibjo. Two years later, the Supreme Audit Agency declared the ministry’s income from the system illegal as it was not listed as non-taxable state income.
June 24, 2010: Attorney General’s Office (AGO) names former justice and human rights minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra and Hartono as suspects.
July 2, 2010: Yusril visits the AGO to clarify why he was summoned for questioning as a graft suspect, declining to be questioned by then attorney general Hendarman Supandji, who Yusril said was illegally appointed AGO.
Sept. 21, 2010: Constitutional Court rules in favor Yusril’s petition, saying Hendarman was not legitimately attorney general.