KPK cracks down on ‘sick note’ abuse by suspects
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) have struck a deal that will crack down on the abuse of sick notes by suspects and defendants to beat court dates and detention.
Under the agreement signed on Monday, the IDI agreed to propose sanctions for any physician who is found guilty of issuing a fraudulent sick note for a graft suspect or defendant.
The chairman of the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI), Prijo Sidipratomo, said that the association would “issue a recommendation for the doctors so that they would lose their licenses”.
Under the memorandum, the KPK may request that the IDI appoint an independent doctor apart from personal physicians, to offer a second opinion on a suspect’s or defendant’s health.
Currently, the KPK can ask the IDI to appoint doctors or specialists to examine suspects, defendants and witnesses, especially those who have declined to answer a KPK summons and failed to provide an adequate sick note from a doctor.
Abraham said that individuals implicated in graft cases have frequently cited health reasons for avoiding questioning or court dates.
“There is a tendency for those suspects or defendants to pretend to be ailing,” KPK chairman Abraham Samad told reporters at a press conference on Monday.
For example, graft convict and a high-profile businesswoman Nunun Nurbaeti was a fugitive for several months, claiming to suffering from amnesia and fleeing to Singapore to seek what she deemed was medical treatment.
Nunun was arrested in Bangkok, Thailand, in December.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a KPK official who often escorted the 60-year-old woman to the hospital alleged that Nunun used the medical visits “as an excuse to meet her friends and relatives”.
Another graft convict, former Democratic Party treasurer M. Nazaruddin, 33, often claimed to suffer from stomach problems, temporarily halting his trial.
Nazaruddin was eventually convicted and sentenced to 56 months’ imprisonment in a high-profile bribery case that centered on the construction of the athletes’ village for the Southeast Asian Games in Palembang, South Sumatra.
Meanwhile, another Democratic Party member implicated in the Southeast Asian Games scandal, lawmaker Angelina Sondakh, 34, claimed that she needed treatment for sinusitis, only days after she was arrested in April.
Angelina was examined by a KPK physician at the commission’s detention center who recommended that she be treated at the Proklamasi Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital in Menteng, South Jakarta.
Yet, Angelina was apparently not satisfied and later requested that she be taken out of detention for surgery for an old wound on her shoulder.
Angeline’s lawyer Teuku Nasrullah said that she wanted “to be fit when she faces trial”.
A KPK physician examined Angelina and recommended that she be transferred to Metropolitan Medical Center (MMC).
However, Angelina suddenly declined the treatment, insisting on being treated by her private physician at Muhammad Husni Thamrin Hospital.