Police back out from Setya investigation
Fedina S. Sundaryani, Ina Parlina and Nurul Fitri Ramadhani
The Jakarta Post
The National Police say that they will not launch a criminal investigation into former House of Representatives speaker Setya Novanto over his alleged attempt to broker a back room deal with PT Freeport Indonesia.
National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti told reporters on Friday that investigators had already consulted with experts and concluded that there was no legal justification for launching a general crimes investigation as the conversation between Setya, Freeport Indonesia president director Maroef Sjamsoeddin and business tycoon Muhammad Reza Chalid did not violate any articles of the Criminal Code.
'We can't charge them with slander against the President as the Constitutional Court abolished that article. We can't pursue a case of slander against the President because the recording was not made public by Setya, but by the House ethics council hearings,' he said at the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta.
Badrodin added that it was also impossible for the police to investigate allegations that Maroef had committed fraud because he did not do anything that could be considered a violation of the Criminal Code.
'This definitely has more indications of being a special crime, which is already being probed by the Attorney General's Office [AGO],' he said.
Late last year, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman Said reported Setya to the House ethics council for allegedly claiming to have won the approval of President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla to secure shares and projects from Freeport in exchange for helping the company to extend its contract and continue operations at its gold mine in Papua, one of the world's largest.
The report included a transcript and copy of a conversation between Setya, Maroef and Reza.
Following the report, the ethics council held a series of hearings, with testimony from Maroef, Sudirman and Setya himself, to determine whether he had committed a breach of ethics
However, Setya resigned from his post as House speaker before a decision could be made and will become Golkar Party faction leader pending approval.
The AGO has since launched an investigation into the case and claims that the parties involved in the conversation could be charged with conspiracy to commit corruption. Both Maroef and Sudirman have already been questioned while Setya is scheduled to be summoned next week. However, Reza has failed to answer two summons as he left the country days after the AGO announced its investigation.
Setya has also filed a police report against both Sudirman and Maroef for alleged defamation and a violation of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law by recording the conversation without his consent.
However, he did not show up to give his testimony against Sudirman and Maroef on Friday, with his lawyer Firman Wijaya saying that Setya had clearly stated his case.
'Our police report is clear enough. It concerns slander, defamation and violation of the ITE Law. It may even come under the Intelligence Law as recording without notice is illegal unless conducted by a law enforcement body,' Firman said on Friday.
Meanwhile, after weeks of insisting that special permission from President Jokowi was required to summon Setya, Attorney General M. Prasetyo finally said on Friday that his office would press ahead with summoning Setya without such permission.
'I have ordered [prosecutors] to immediately summon him. [The questioning] will probably be conducted next week,' Prasetyo said on Friday. 'I'd like to underline that we need no special permission from the President.'
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