PDI-P politicians implicated in vote-buying scandal
Paper Edition | Page: 4
A politician with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) testified at the trial of Miranda S. Goeltom that the former deputy senior governor of the central bank did promise cash to lawmakers who voted for her in 2004.
Graft convict and former PDI-P lawmaker Agus Condro Prayitno said that the PDI-P secretary-general, Tjahjo Kumolo, told his faction in an internal meeting that Miranda was willing to give each of them Rp 300 million (US$31,800) in exchange for voting for her in the selection of Bank Indonesia (BI) senior deputy governor in 2004.
“Tjahjo said that Miranda would give us Rp 300 million each. But if we asked for Rp 500 million, she would not mind,” Agus said.
He recalled that fellow faction members were thrilled with the proposal.
“One faction member responded ‘If she does not mind giving us Rp 500 million, why offer Rp 300 million? That is stupid’ — but I forget who said that,” he added.
Agus is one of several politicians found guilty of accepting bribes in the form of traveler’s checks linked to Miranda’s 2004 election.
He reported the case to the KPK in 2008, returning checks amounting to Rp 500 million and disclosing fellow politicians’ involvement in the graft case.
He was fined Rp 50 million and sentenced to 15 months in jail.
Miranda flatly denies the accusation.
“I object. I never told Tjahjo that. You should have asked me to confirm what [Tjahjo] said during your meeting,” Miranda said, responding to Agus’ testimony.
Another witness at the trial, former Golkar Party lawmaker Hamka Yandu said that Miranda’s promise was also discussed within his faction.
He said that during an internal meeting, faction leader Paskah Suzetta said that the Golkar Party faction had agreed to vote for Miranda. A faction member later asked Paskah if there was reward for the vote.
“Paskah said that yes, there would be a faction ‘briefing’ on the issue,” Hamka said, adding that “briefing” meant cash. In the dossier read out by presiding judge Gusrizal, Hamka told KPK investigators all activities related to the selection involved material rewards.
“My fellow commission IX members said they would not do it [without rewards],” Hamka said.
Hamka recalled that he also had a meeting with businesswoman Nunun Nurbaeti, a go-between in the scandal, before the selection.
“I was introduced to Nunun by Paskah during a gathering of for the Sundanese community in Jakarta,” he said.
Hamka, however, said that Nunun never told Paskah that he should order his faction members to vote for Miranda. “Not that I know of,” he said.
Miranda is charged under Article 5 and Article 13 of Law No. 31/1999 on corruption, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and Rp 250 million in fines.
She is accused of bribing members of the House for their votes in her selection as Bank Indonesia senior deputy governor.
The prosecutors indicted Miranda, together with Nunun, for distributing Rp 20.85 billion in the form of Bank International Indonesia’s (BII) travelers’ checks to lawmakers Hamka, Dudhie Makmun Murod of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Endin AJ Soefihara of the United Development Party (PPP) and Udju Djuhaeri of the Indonesian Military/National Police faction, in June 2004.
Twenty-eight lawmakers had been convicted of taking bribes in the election.