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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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KPK names two judges bribery suspects, pushes for judicial reform

  • Kharishar Kahfi
    Kharishar Kahfi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Thu, November 29, 2018 | 11:55 am
KPK names two judges bribery suspects, pushes for judicial reform Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) deputy chairman Alexander Marwata (right) and an investigator present money the KPK seized during an operation in a bribery case involving two judges and a court clerk on Wednesday. (The Jakarta Post/Seto Wardhana)

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has named two South Jakarta District Court judges and a court clerk suspects of bribery in connection with a civil case the judges were handling.

The three suspects -- judge Iswahyu Widodo, who presided in the civil suit related to a business acquisition, judge Irwan and Muhammad Ramadhan, court clerk at the East Jakarta District Court -- were apprehended during an operation conducted by investigators from Tuesday night to Wednesday early morning, KPK deputy chairman Alexander Marwata said.

“In total, we named five individuals suspects in the case,” Alexander told a press briefing on Wednesday night.

Alexander was referring to two other suspects -- lawyer Arif Fitrawan and businessman Martin P. Silitonga, who allegedly passed on the bribes to the judges via the clerk, who once was stationed at the South Jakarta District Court.

“The illicit funds in question allegedly were paid to influence the judges handling a certain case at the South Jakarta District Court,” Alexander said.

Investigators also seized money amounting to S$47,000 (US$34,281) during the operation.

The case comes less than three months after the KPK named judge Merry Purba of the Medan District Court in North Sumatra a suspect of bribery in a corruption case she was handling at the time.

Wednesday’s arrests immediately raised public questions on the efficacy of the ongoing judicial reform, which was started by the Supreme Court in the early 2000s, involving civil society groups and aiming to improve the integrity and professionalism of the country's judicial system.

According to data from the KPK’s Anticorruption Clearing House (ACCH), at least 18 judges were prosecuted from 2010 to May 2018. One of the cases occurred in October 2017, when KPK investigators arrested Manado High Court Judge Sudiwardono. In June, Sudiwardono was sentenced to six years in prison for accepting bribes paid to influence an appellate bench handling a corruption case related to allowances for village officials (TPAPD) in Bolaang Mongondow, North Sulawesi.

The KPK on Wednesday pushed the Supreme Court on its pledged judicial reform, particularly with regard to improving its case handling system to prevent bribery.

“We expect [the Supreme Court] to carry out an evaluation in the management of the judiciary,” Alexander said, revealing that the KPK was collaborating with the Development and Finance Comptroller (BPKP) to help audit and improve the management of some lower courts and high courts.

Kompas.com reported that Supreme Court spokesman Justice Suhadi has said the two South Jakarta District Court judges might soon be suspended. (ipa)

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