The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced two tax officials, Mohamad Dian Irwan Nuqishira and Eko Darmayanto, to nine years each in prison on Tuesday for accepting bribes from steel company PT The Master Steel.
The panel of judges found the two guilty of accepting S$600,000 (US$477,327) from the company.
The judges said Mohamad Dian and Eko were guilty of violating Article 12 of Law No. 31/1999 on corruption.
The court also ordered Mohamad Dian and Eko to pay Rp 300 million in fines, or serve an additional six months in prison should they fail to pay the amount.
The judges cited some incriminating factors as the fact the defendants' actions as public officials did not support the government's effort to combat corruption.
Mitigating factors were the fact they were well behaved during the trial and had never received prison terms before.
The defendants also admitted to their crimes.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors sought 13-year prison terms for the two defendants, who were arrested in a raid in May.
The two were arrested soon after Mohamad Dian parked a Toyota Avanza at Terminal III of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and handed the car keys to Teddy Muliawan, finance manager at The Master Steel, who allegedly placed the illicit money inside the car.
Mohamad Dian and Eko then went to the airport to pick up the money, where they were arrested along with Teddy.
The panel of judges said the money was meant for the tax officials so that they would halt their investigation into tax problems in The Master Steel.
Officials at the company were suspected of falsifying tax payments.
The money was provided by The Master Steel director Diah Soemedi, who had also been named a suspect by the KPK, through her two staffers Effendi Komala and Teddy, according to the case dossier.
While the KPK initially arrested the tax officials for The Master Steel case, it was later found in the trial that they had also accepted bribes from two other companies, PT Delta Internusa and PT Nusa Raya Cipta.
According to the judges, Mohamad Dian and Eko were also guilty of accepting Rp 3.25 billion in bribes from owners of PT Delta Internusa and PT Nojorono Tobacco International.
The company wanted the two tax officials to stop an investigation into whether it manipulated its sales report, with Delta Internusa said to be reducing its net sales from Rp 8.1 trillion to Rp 6.1 trillion.
They were also guilty of accepting US$150,000 in bribes from PT Nusa Raya Cipta financial director Handoko Tedjowinoto, for the same reason as the other bribes.
Responding to the verdict, both Mohamad Dian and Eko said they had yet to make a decision on whether to appeal.
This tax evasion case comes on the heels of another tax bribery case in April, where a tax officer named Pargono Riyadi was caught accepting Rp 125 million in bribes from PT Asep Hendro Racing Sport.
Pargono extorted the money from the company, saying Asep Hendro, the owner, still had unpaid taxes. Asep claimed he had paid all of his taxes.
Pargono was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison in November.
Despite the sentence, Mohamad Dian and Eko are still registered as staff members of the East Jakarta branch of the Tax Directorate General Office, according to the office's spokesman Chandra Budi.
Chandra said the office expected to issue a recommendation to the Home Ministry to decide what penalties should be given to the two officials.
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