The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta High Court has ruled in favor of an appeal filed by former United Development Party (PPP) chairman Muhammad “Romy” Romahurmuziy, who was found guilty of accepting bribes, reducing his prison sentence to one year.
“[The court] sentences the defendant to one year in prison and a fine of Rp 100 million which, if not paid, will be replaced with three months' imprisonment,” the appellate court verdict read as quoted by Antara news agency on Friday.
The Jakarta Corruption Court initially found Romy guilty on Jan. 20 of receiving a bribe of Rp 346.4 million (US$22,220) from Religious Affairs Ministry officials in exchange for promotions within the ministry. The bench sentenced him to two years’ imprisonment and a fine of Rp 100 million – only half of the four years demanded by prosecutors.
The high court also echoed the corruption court’s verdict of not requiring Romy to pay a restitution fee of Rp 46.4 million and not denying him political rights after serving his sentence.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested Romy in March 2019 for allegedly accepting Rp 416.4 million in bribes from two Religious Affairs Ministry officials in return for his support for their promotions.
The two officials, Haris Hasanuddin and Muafaq Wirahadi, were both found guilty of bribery and sentenced to two years and 1.5 years in prison, respectively.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) spokesperson Ali Fikri said the antigraft body’s prosecutors would study the high court judges’ consideration upon the ruling and propose its next move to the commission’s leaders.
“It is indeed lighter than the prosecutors’ demands. However, we must respect the judges' decision,” said Ali.
Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) slammed the Jakarta High Court’s ruling, saying the court should give the former party chairman a heavier sentence.
The watchdog compared Romy’s verdict to rulings against other party chairmen convicted for corruption, such as Luthfi Hasan Ishaq of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), who was sentenced to 18 years in prison, Anas Urbaningrum of the Democratic Party (14 years), Romy’s successor Suryadharma Ali (10 years) and Setya Novanto of the Golkar Party (15 years).
“Such a light sentence, however, is not a new occurrence as we recorded that the average prison sentence given to graft defendants last year was only two years and seven months. If it continues like this, Indonesia’s ambition to be free from corruption will never be achieved,” Kurnia Ramadhana of ICW said.
He urged the KPK to file an appeal petition to the Supreme Court.