Arief responds to backroom deal allegation before ethics council

Marguerite Afra Sapiie

The Jakarta Post


Jakarta   /  Thu, December 7, 2017  /  04:33 pm

Constitutional Court chief justice Arief Hidayat gestures during a fit and proper test in House of Representatives Commission III on Wednesday. At the hearing, the commission granted Arief a second tenure as a justice. He was the sole candidate for the post.(Antara/Muhammad Adimaja)

Constitutional Court (MK) chief justice Arief Hidayat has responded to allegations that he lobbied the House of Representatives to secure a second tenure as justice.

A House faction, as reported by various news outlets, had suggested that there had been a "political barter" between Arief and the House over his reappointment and an ongoing judicial review on the House's inquiry rights.

The court's ruling on the inquiry rights will determine the fate of the House's ongoing inquiry into the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), which critics see as an attempt by lawmakers to weaken the KPK amid its investigation into a massive graft case implicating dozens of politicians.

"[Arief] has delivered clarification before the ethics council related to the recent media reports," MK spokesperson Fajar Laksono said on Thursday, after Arief had been summoned to a one-hour meeting with the court's ethics council on Thursday morning.

Fajar refused to detail Arief’s arguments, noting that the ethics council hearing had taken place behind closed doors.

Arief, whose current tenure ends in March next year and who is the only MK justice candidate nominated by the House has previously denied allegations of a backroom deal.

Despite mounting protest over what critics call a lack of transparency in the vetting process, House Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, decided to grant Arief a second tenure as justice following a confirmation hearing on Wednesday. (ipa)