Miranda detention should open Pandora’s Box
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) finally detained former Bank Indonesia senior deputy governor, Miranda S. Goeltom, after seven hours of questioning last Friday, four months after she was named a suspect in the vote-buying case that has sent over 30 current and former House of Representatives’ lawmakers to jail.
The politicians were convicted of receiving bribes in the form of traveler’s checks worth a total of Rp 20.8 billion (US$2.2 million) to vote for Miranda in the election for the bank’s second-highest post in 2004.
On the one hand, Miranda’s detention is expected to open a Pandora’s Box of those involved in the scandal, particularly the financiers. On the other hand, it could corroborate public doubts that the KPK’s handling of the Miranda case is wrong; the KPK has argued that it has found nothing directly linking Miranda with the bribery case apart from confessions.
During her detention, the KPK should undertake three significant measures to reveal the facts behind the traveler’s checks scandal within 20 days, or it will have to extend her detention by another 40 days.
First, the KPK must explore every avenue to hunt down those who benefited from Miranda’s appointment to the post. The anticorruption body needs to inquire into any person or political parties who were too lenient toward her policies and to probe banks or companies that took advantage of her policies.
For instance, the anticorruption body needs to dig deeper into an alleged link between the bribery and Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII) and Bank Artha Graha. During the trial of Nunun Nurbaeti, the wife of former National Police deputy chief Adang Daradjatun and Miranda’s friend, the court heard the checks were issued by BII upon an order by a customer of Bank Artha Graha, PT First Lucky Plantations and Industry (FMPI).
The KPK could work with the central bank to review the monetary policies sponsored by Miranda that may have benefited the banks following her election as the BI’s senior deputy governor.
The investigation can be traced back to the fit and proper test prior to her election. While she was asked about her personal life during the first fit and proper test, she was not asked about the questions at the second test.
She might argue that it was a painful experience when the lawmakers asked her about personal matters during her unsuccessful attempt for the Bank Indonesia governorship in 2003. Yet, it is subject to inquiry since a political deal between the two tests may have occurred.
Despite the detention of 19 politicians implicated in the traveler’s checks case, the KPK needs to ensure that the process of investigating Miranda avoids political pressure during an inquiry that could be used as a political instrument among parties to reach a political compromise on numerous issues amid factual transactional politics.
Though Miranda has been cooperative, the inquiry process would be in vain if she does not tell the truth. An apology would be in order but it is doubtful if the word “sorry” is in her vocabulary.
Second, the KPK should enlist Miranda as a justice collaborator to track down the lead actor in the case. In the proposed deal, Miranda would share information with prosecutors in exchange for as-yet undefined leniency.
Many are clearly convinced that Miranda is not the mastermind behind the scandal. With her case becoming increasingly complex, the KPK should use whatever strategy it sees fit to eradicate corruption, considering the ineffectual nature of the law when implicating people with political influence.
The country’s most trusted anticorruption body should not worry about being accused of compromising with suspects, such as Miranda, on condition that it emphasizes the prevention of crime, the needs of the victims and witnesses and the safeguarding of the right to a fair trial. The failure to do so might produce a vivid impression of the KPK’s legal discrimination.
People will never forget how former National Police detectives chief, Susno Duadji, and convicted former junior taxman, Gayus Tambunan, fingered their superiors, but no action has been taken. Several people are pointing at Anas Urbaningrum, but nothing is happening. The public might be appeased if Miranda gets a shorter sentence as a justice collaborator. The justice minister has promised to go easy on those who collaborate in this way.
Third, the KPK could enter into a strategic partnership with mass media to dismantle the Miranda case. With its investigative reporting power, the media is instrumental not only in finding and disclosing the mastermind in the Miranda case but also in ensuring the case remains a central focus during her detention. A tremendous exert on Miranda’s case is urgent since her detention is an entry point and one step closer to revealing the mastermind behind the traveler’s checks.
Both the KPK and the mass media have a shared interest in dealing with the Miranda case; that is, to make corruption or bribery people’s common enemy. Media involvement in safegurading the case and the investigation can significantly serve to avoid an emotional approach to the case, and so prevent potential distractions.
While the former is likely to make all authorized quarters blame one another which, in turn, will slow down the process of investigation, the latter might make people forget the case so that the lead actor can build a strategy to prevent the justice collaborator — Miranda Goeltom — from talking, even though she wants to cooperate.
The writer is a lecturer in the Faculty of Cultural Sciences at Andalas University, Padang.