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3 imprisoned in Indonesia for bribing MK chief justice
Publication Date : 28-03-2014
A regent, a businessman and a legislator were found guilty of bribing former Constitutional Court (MK) chief justice Akil Mochtar by the Jakarta Corruption Court on Thursday, marking the first sentences handed down in the high-profile graft case surrounding Akil.
Gunung Mas Regent Hambit Bintih and businessman Cornelis Nalau Antun were sentenced to four years and three years in prison, respectively, while in a separate session, House of Representatives member Chairun Nisa was sentenced to four years for bribing Akil in relation to an election dispute in a regency in Central Kalimantan in 2013.
Hambit and Cornelis were also ordered to pay a 150 million rupiah (US$13,103) fine each or serve an additional three months in prison, while Chairun was ordered to pay a 100 million rupiah fine or an additional three months.
“Hambit Bintih and Cornelis Nalau Antun have been found guilty of corruption,” presiding judge Suwidya said as he read out the verdict.
The defendants violated various articles of Law No. 31/1999, amended to Law No. 20/2001 on corruption eradication, and articles of the Criminal Code (KUHP).
The case centered on the Gunung Mas regency election dispute, in which Chairun allegedly helped Hambit persuade Akil, through a 3-billion rupiah ($260,000) bribe, to rule in favor of Hambit as the incumbent Gunung Mas regent and reject appeals by the losing candidates.
Cornelis was accused of supplying the 3 billion rupiah on Hambit’s instructions, while Chairun helped Hambit due to her running for a seat at the House as a Golkar Party member.
A previous hearing had revealed that Hambit had given Chairun 75 million rupiah (about $6,500) so she could go on a haj pilgrimage. After accepting the bribe from Hambit, Akil rejected the appeals of the losing candidates and Hambit was declared the winner by the Gunung Mas General Elections Commission (KPUD).
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested Akil at his official residence in Jakarta on Oct. 2 last year as he was about to accept the 3-billion rupiah bribe from Chairun.
Akil has been accused of amassing 57 billion rupiah ($5 million) from rigging 10 elections, as well as for laundering a total of 160 billion rupiah ($14 million) during his time as chief justice of the court and 20 billion rupiah ($1.75 million) when he was a lawmaker at the House.
Akil’s graft cases include those involving former Banten governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah and her brother, businessman Tubagus Chaeri “Wawan” Wardana, who have been declared suspects and are currently being detained by the KPK.
The sentences for Hambit and Cornelis were lower than those sought by KPK prosecutors, who had asked the court to sentence Hambit and Cornelis to six years in prison plus 200 million rupiah ($17,500) in fines.
Hambit and Cornelis’ lawyers told the judges that they would review the sentence first before deciding whether to file an appeal, while Cornelis decided to accept his sentence.
The verdict for Chairun was also lower than that sought by KPK prosecutors, who had asked the court to sentence the defendant to seven years and six months in prison, and a 500-million rupiah ($43,000) fine.
“I will file an appeal,” Chairun said to the judges while crying, after hearing the verdict.
On Chairun’s verdict, judge Suwidya said that the sentence was lighter because she had admitted to her guilt, and had cooperated with investigators.