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Jakarta Post

Meikarta corruption trial kicks off in Bandung

  • Arya Dipa

    The Jakarta Post

Bandung   /   Thu, December 20, 2018   /   10:16 am
Meikarta corruption trial kicks off in Bandung Illustration of a construction site. (Shutterstock/File)

The Bandung Corruption Court kicked off on Wednesday the trial for a graft case surrounding the Meikarta township project in Bekasi, West Java, with suspended Bekasi regent Neneng Hasanah Yasin and project executives implicated in the case.

Sitting on the bench were Billy Sindoro, a former executive with Lippo conglomerate, and project consultants and employees Henry Jasmen P. Sitohan, Fitradjadja Purnama and Taryudi. 

The prosecutors indicted the defendants for bribery and gratuity under the Corruption Law, which carries a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment and Rp 250 million (US$17,285) in fines.

Prosecutor Yadyn said the case began when PT Mahkota Sentosa Utama, a subsidiary of PT Lippo Cikarang Tbk., planned in 2016 to build the Meikarta township megaproject on 438 hectares of land in Cibatu, South Cikarang, Bekasi regency. The plan included apartment buildings, a shopping mall, a hospital, a school building, a hotel, a residential compound and a business district.

The development of the township was to be realized in three different stages. The first stage included the construction of 52 buildings and 13 basements on 143 h of land.

To carry out the first phase of the project, the developer needed permits on land use, domestic investment, environment and construction. 

According to the indictment, the Lippo conglomerate ordered Billy to handle the permits.

In April 2017, PT Lippo Cikarang land acquisition division head Edi Dwi Soesianto, his subordinate Satriadi and Bekasi spatial and development planning division head E. Yusup Taupik met with the regent at his residence.

“In the meeting, Edi Dwi Soesianto asked Neneng Hasanah Yasin to help them with the permit. Neneng responded by suggesting that they process the land use permit through E. Yusup Taupik,” Yadyn said.

The regent later issued a regental decree on the use of 846,356 square meters of land for commercial use in Cibatu village, South Cikarang, on May 12, 2017. 

“After the permit was signed, Neneng Hasanah Yasin ordered E. Yusup Yaupik to contact Edi Dwi Soesianto to ask for Rp 10 billion in ‘commitment fees’,” the prosecutor said.

Edi later paid the money in six stages between June 2017 and January 2018 via Yusup and, in addition to the Rp 10 billion promised to Neneng, Edi also gave Yusup Rp 500 million, according to the indictment. To further persuade the local administration to adjust its spatial plan to accommodate the project, Edi and Satriadi allegedly promised Rp 2.5 billion to the Bekasi Spatial Planning and Housing Agency head. However, in the middle of the process, then-West Java deputy governor Deddy Mizwar called on the relevant authorities to halt the permit issuance pending a recommendation from the West Java governor.

Later, Josep Christopher Mailool, Billy’s nephew, contacted Henry Jasmen P. Sihotang for help with the permits. Henry later involved Fitradjaja Purnama and Taryudi in the process. 

On Sept. 23, 2017, Billy allegedly discussed the issue with the three at a hotel in Cikarang. “Please oversee the process,” Billy told them as quoted by the prosecutor.

According to the indictment, Billy and the project executives implicated in the case gave a total of Rp 16 billion and S$270,000 to regent Neneng and the executives gave Rp 1 billion and SG$90,000 to Bekasi Investment and Permit Agency head Dewi Tisnawati, Rp 1.2 billion to Bekasi Public Works and Housing Agency head Jamaludin and hundreds of millions of rupiah to several other agency heads.

In May 2018, PT Lippo Cikarang requested a permit to build 53 apartment towers and 13 basements.

After receiving money from PT Lippo Cikarang, Dewi Tisnawati approved the building permits for 24 apartment towers, the prosecutor said.

Billy denied all the accusations.

“I hope that the judges will not consider circumstantial evidence,” he said after the trial.

This article was originally published in The Jakarta Post's print edition on Dec. 20, 2018, with the title "Meikarta corruption trial kicks off in Bandung".