Miranda mystery deepens
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Former senior deputy governor of Bank Indonesia Miranda S. Goeltom was found guilty on Thursday, but the mystery of who bankrolled the bribery scheme to appoint Miranda to the central bank remains.
Miranda was so optimistic that she would be acquitted of bribery charges that on Wednesday she ordered her handler to bring home all her belongings from her cell at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) detention center.
But on Thursday, judges at the Jakarta Corruption Court made a decision that stunned her, handing down a three-year jail term and a fine of Rp 100 million (US$10,427) for her role in bribing lawmakers in 2004.
And should Miranda fail to pay the fine she will get an additional three months in jail. Prosecutors sought a four-year jail term.
“I am shocked. I am not guilty and God knows I am not guilty,” said Miranda, who appeared stunned by the guilty verdict. Miranda said she would appeal the decision.
Presiding judge Gusrizal said in his verdict that Miranda was guilty of violating Article 5 of Law No. 31/1999 on Corruption (paying bribes to government officials) and Article 55 of the Criminal Code (being complicit in bribery).
Gusrizal said that Miranda was guilty of the crime although she had no direct role in it.
“Miranda, together with Nunun, was found guilty of cooperating to commit corruption,” he said, referring to businesswoman Nunun Nurbaeti, who has been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for her role.
The Jakarta Corruption Court also sentenced 28 lawmakers to prison for receiving bribes from Nunun.
A member of the panel of judges, Anwar, said that a number of separate events, involving lawmakers, Miranda and Nunun that took place during the selection process of BI senior deputy governor in 2004, were related.
Miranda held meetings with House of Representatives’ members from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Indonesian Military/National Police faction at Dharmawangsa Hotel and at Graha Niaga, before the “fit-and-proper” BI senior deputy governor test in 2004.
A day before the test on June 8, 2004, Ngatiran, an office boy at Nunun’s office, delivered four shopping bags to Ari Malangjudo, Nunun’s assistant.
The guilty verdict left the public in the dark over who was the puppet master behind Miranda’s selection as BI senior deputy governor.
Court proceedings failed to discover who supplied Nunun with the 480 traveler’s checks, worth Rp 24 billion ($2.66 million) to bribe lawmakers to swing their votes for Miranda.
The Jakarta Corruption Court has revealed that the same checks were purchased by plantation company PT First Mujur in 2004 to buy small oil palm plantations in North Sumatra, but the chain of evidence regarding the flow of the checks came to a halt as Ferry Yan, who brokered the purchases, died in 2007.
Many believed Ferry could have revealed how the checks bearing the same serial numbers had found their way into lawmakers’ pockets.
The court also discovered that First Mujur president director Hidayat Lukman ordered his finance director, Budi Santoso, to purchase the same checks from Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII) using money from Bank Artha Graha.
KPK spokesman Johan Budi said that investigators would continue hunting for the puppet master.
“We will first verify any evidence, even the smallest piece, before making any conclusion,” he said.
Johan shrugged off speculation that KPK investigators were targeting Artha Graha and BII officials.
Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) activist Donal Fariz said that the KPK should appeal the verdict.
“Not only is the jail term lower than the sentence demand, but the trial failed to reveal the benefactor who supplied the traveler’s checks,” he said. “The KPK can start by investigating companies or banks that benefitted from [Miranda’s] policies,” he said. (cor)