Kartini Marpaung sits in the defendants chair at Semarang District Court on Tuesday. Kartini, along with Pontianak Corruption Court judge Heru Kisbandono, is accused of takting Rp 150 million (US$15,400) in bribes to release Grobogan Legislative Council speaker M. Yaeni. (JP/Ainur Rohmah)
Semarang Corruption Court ad hoc judge Kartini Marpaung on Tuesday went on trial for taking bribes to secure the release of a graft defendant.
Kartini is being tried by judges Ifa Sudewi, Suyadi and Kalimatul Jumro, her colleagues at Semarang District Court.
Prosecutor Pulung Rinandro accused Kartini of violating the 2001 Law on corruption.
Kartini was caught red-handed by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in August last year as she accepted Rp 150 million (US$15,400) in cash to acquit Grobogan Legislative Council speaker M. Yaeni of corruption charges. Yaeni was accused of embezzlement of regional budget funds for the maintenance of the council’s official cars.
“The money was given to alter Yaeni’s verdict, to give him a light sentence or even clear him of all charges,” Pulung said.
The money was allegedly provided by Yaeni’s sister Sri Dartuti. The prosecutor said that Sri sought help from Pontianak Corruption Court judge Heru Kisbandono, Yaeni’s close friend, in lobbying Kartini.
Sri and Heru are also suspects in the case and will stand trial at the same court on Tuesday.
Kartini and Heru had been dismissed from their positions.
Pulung said that Kartini planned to share the money with other judges, including Lilik Nuraini, Pragsono and Asmadinata.
Kartini’s arrest came just few days before the verdict was due.
The court then appointed a new panel of judges, presided by Pragsono, to hand down Yaeni’s verdict.
The judges sentenced Yaeni to 2.5 year in prison on Aug. 28 last year.
Prior to Yaeni’s case, Kartini is reported to have acquitted four grafts defendants. These include former Sragen regent Untung Wiyono accused of stealing over Rp 11 billion.
She also annulled the verdict for Yanuelva Etliana, involved in a Rp 39 billion sting on the Central Java Regional Development (BPD) Bank.
The Judicial Commission (KY) has warned the Semarang Corruption Court to be alert for conflicts of interest during Kartini’s trial.
Kartini’s lawyer Krisdo Pulungan raised te similar concerns. He said that her client felt “stressed” to be tried by her own colleagues in the Semarang District Court, a place the used to be her office.
“At the next hearing session scheduled for Jan.15, I will ask the trial to be moved to Jakarta. It is more convenient for our client,” he said. (lfr)