The Jakarta Post
Former Constitutional Court chief justice Mahfud MD has revealed that his disgraced successor, Akil Mochtar, stashed billions of illicit rupiah in the walls of a karaoke room at the official residence they both occupied during their tenures.
Mahfud made the revelation after being questioned by Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators as a witness in Akil's case on Monday night.
He said he was speechless when the investigators asked him if he knew of the money hidden by Akil behind the walls of a room in his former official residence at Jl. Widya Chandra III No. 7 in South Jakarta, which was later occupied by Akil.
'I used to have a karaoke room at Widya Chandra. Now the walls of that room have been used [by Akil] to stash his money,' he said.
Mahfud, who once claimed that his institution was 100 percent free of graft, said he did not know the amount of money kept by Akil in the walls of the karaoke room, but only said according to KPK investigators, Akil had more than Rp 100 billion (US$8.34 million).
The presidential hopeful compared Akil to ousted Tunisian president Zine El Bidin Ben Ali, who stashed his money in a library. 'Akil is just like that, only he kept the money in the karaoke room.'
The KPK has charged Akil in two separate graft cases relating to election disputes in Lebak regency in Banten province and Gunung Mas regency in Central Kalimantan province.
The antigraft body, however, has widened its investigation into allegations that Akil might have accepted bribes from other high-profile politicians to fix the rulings of election disputes handled by the court.
Tempo.co reported on Monday that Golkar Party treasurer Setya Novanto's name was mentioned by Akil in a BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) conversation with Golkar's East Java branch chairman Zainudin Amali, who allegedly acted as a middleman in the case.
According to Akil, also a former Golkar politician, Setya helped pay for the party's attempt to secure the victory of its candidate in the regional election dispute relating to the 2009 East Java election, by
The bribery case began when Akil ordered Zainudin to tell Soekarwo and Saifullah Yusuf, who was nominated by Golkar in the election, to prepare money for Akil.
'Tell them to prepare Rp 10 billion only if they want to be safe,' he said in the BBM conversation.
In the conversation, Akil then claimed he was called by Golkar secretary general Idrus Marham, who told Akil the bribe would be paid by Setya.
However, before the bribe could be given, Akil was arrested by the KPK.
Soekarwo has denied the bribery allegations, saying he is willing to take an oath of innocence should he be found guilty of taking part in the bribery attempt.
Setya has also denied his alleged role, saying he was never involved in any matter relating to the election in East Java. While he denied his involvement, he was questioned by the KPK last Tuesday.
Speaking after the questioning, Setya claimed KPK investigators interviewed him regarding the party's internal mechanism in choosing regional head candidates.
'In general, the investigators asked about regional elections. Golkar did not provide campaign funds for its regional head candidates. I was also asked about the funding for surveys,' he said.
Early in January, the KPK also questioned Idrus, who denied that the party had instructed Akil in his capacity as chief justice to rule in favor of candidates who were backed by Golkar in regional election disputes.
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