Investigators from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) have arrested two judges with the Semarang Corruption Court for allegedly accepting bribes from graft defendants.
KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto said that Kartini Marpaung, who serves as an ad hoc judge with the Semarang Corruption Court in Central Java, and Heru Kusbandono, who serves in a similar position at the Pontianak Corruption Court in West Kalimantan, were caught accepting bribes after joining a flag-raising ceremony for the country’s 67th Independence Day on Friday morning.
“Officials from the KPK and the Supreme Court arrested three individuals in front of the Semarang High Court building at around 10 a.m. this morning. Our investigators caught the two judges on the spot accepting bribes worth more than Rp 100 million [US$10,500], from [a third individual] Sri Dartuti, an alleged go-between who tried to seek the release of a high-ranking official who was currently under investigation,” Bambang said.
The three individuals were soon transported to the KPK’s headquarters in South Jakarta for detention.
Bambang added investigators decided on the raid after receiving reports of the two judges’ penchant for acquitting graft defendants.
Kartini is reported to have acquitted four graft defendants including Yanuelva Etliana, who stood trial for her role in a Rp 39 billion graft in the Central Java Regional Development (BPD) Bank; Untung Wiyono, the former regent of Sragen in Central Java, who was caught in a budget scandal worth Rp 11.2 billion; Suyatno, a graft suspect in a scandal worth Rp 13.5 billion; and Heru Djatmiko, a defendant in a Rp 5.9 billion graft case.
Prior to her arrest, Kartini presided over a trial involving the disbursement of funds for the Grobogan Local Council for the maintenance of official cars. The local government was estimated to have lost Rp 1.9 billion from the graft.
Both the KPK and the Supreme Court are still working to determine the role of Heru in the case.
“As for Heru, we have yet to determine what exactly he did in Semarang as he had been appointed to serve in Pontianak. I’m surprised that he worked together with Kartini, and perhaps other judges, to enrich himself from cases that were entrusted to them. How can we curb corruption if our law enforcers are corrupt?” Supreme Court spokesman Djoko Sarwoko said.
Djoko said both Kartini and Heru would be suspended from their posts and would soon be tried for corruption.
Kartini and Heru are the latest judges to be arrested by the KPK.
The KPK has previously expressed concerns about the Semarang Corruption Court’s partiality, and therefore moved a trial for graft convict Semarang Mayor Soemarmo Hadi Saputro to its headquarters in South Jakarta to ensure the independence and integrity of judges.
Soemarmo, a politician from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) is charged with bribing local councillors in a graft case involving the 2012 Semarang city budget.
The transfer of Soemarmo was the first such move by the KPK after a local graft tribunal in Bandung, West Java, acquitted Bekasi mayor Mochtar Mohammad in a graft case last year.
— JP/Margareth S. Aritonang