The Jakarta Post
Anticorruption activists have expressed their disapproval of the legal assistance made available by a prosecutors association for Pinangki Sirna Malasari, a prosecutor who was arrested for allegedly accepting bribes in connection with graft convict Djoko Tjandra.
Pinangki was named a bribery suspect last week following an investigation by the Attorney General's Office (AGO) into her alleged meetings with Djoko when the latter was still on the run in neighboring countries last year. She was suspected to have accepted about US$500,000 in bribes, though the AGO did not specify who she got it from.
The AGO confirmed on Monday that Pinangki was still a prosecutor and a member of the Indonesian Prosecutors Association (PJI) despite her suspect status, and thus, she would receive legal assistance from lawyers appointed by the association, kompas.com reported.
Antigraft watchdog Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) researcher Kurnia Ramadhana said Pinangki's alleged meeting with Djoko, then an AGO fugitive, had tarnished the image of the institution itself and, therefore, she "does not deserve legal assistance" from the PJI.
The AGO itself has declared Pinangki guilty of committing an ethics violation by going on nine international trips to Singapore and Malaysia in 2019 without permission, during which she allegedly met with Djoko.
Given the alleged violations, Kurnia said that providing Pinangki with legal assistance would contradict the PJI's rules of association and internal bylaws (AD/ART).
"The AD/ART stipulates that PJI aims to defend and assist its members who face legal issues related to their professional duties. However, what the prosecutor Pinangki did was not related to her duties and profession, because the meeting was held without her superior’s approval and it was with the fugitive,” Kurnia said.
“There is a term ‘the blue wall of silence' in the United States when law enforcers stay silent or protect their colleagues who are involved in illegal practices. We don't want that to happen.”
Meanwhile, Indonesian Anticorruption Community (MAKI) coordinator Boyamin Saiman said the prosecutor's organization should not provide legal assistance to Pinangki because of ethical reasons, arguing that she got entangled in the case not because of her duties but because she had violated her duties as prosecutor.
"Pinangki should find herself a lawyer instead of getting the PJI assistance,” he said.
Boyamin, however, conceded that assistance from the PJI was not legally problematic as the association did not represent the AGO, but it was an organization in which Pinangki was a member.
Pinangki has been removed from her post as an official in the planning bureau under the AGO’s assistant attorney general.
Djoko, a convict in the high-profile Bank Bali corruption case, was arrested in Malaysia on July 30. He had been at large for 11 years after fleeing Indonesia a day before the Supreme Court sentenced him to two years in prison and ordered him to pay Rp 546 billion (US$54 million) in restitution.