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Indonesia's anti-graft agency seeks to keep ex-chief justice's seized assets
Publication Date : 02-07-2014
Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Tuesday sought to appeal a court ruling ordering the commission to return the multibillion rupiah assets of former Constitutional Court chief justice Akil Mochtar.
Alongside the life sentence handed out to the convict, the Jakarta Corruption Court instructed the commission to give back to Akil a number of cars, cash and plots of land worth billions of rupiah that it had previously confiscated.
KPK prosecutor Pulung Rinandoro explained on Tuesday that the assets should belong to the state because they were bought using dirty money that Akil received during his tenure.
“We will also push the high court to decide that the money that Akil received from the South Lampung regent was bribery, not gratuities, as ruled by the Jakarta Corruption Court,” he said.
Pulung added that the 35 billion rupiah (US$2.95 million) that Muhtar Efendy, an alleged middleman in the bribery case, received from a number of regional heads, was supposed to be categorised as money laundering.
Akil was found guilty of accepting 57 billion rupiah in bribes from a number of regional heads to influence decisions on election disputes.
The confiscated assets the judges have ordered to return to Akil include 4.2 billion rupiah stored in a bank account in Pontianak, 3.79 billion rupiah stored in a bank account in Pontianak, 3.3 billion rupiah stored in a bank account in Pontianak, a Totoya Kijang Innova car, a Ford sedan, a plot of land and a building worth 1.9 billion rupiah in Pontianak, two bank deposits worth 3 billion rupiah and an Audi sedan car.
The KPK is also demanding the high court to withdraw Akil’s political rights.
A criminal expert from the University of Muhammadiyah in Jakarta, Chairul Huda, said someone sentenced to life in prison should not be eligible for any remission, except the President granting him clemency.
He added that clemency could see the life sentence changed to a specific number of prison terms, but that it was the authority of the President to determine the prison term.
Constitutional Court Chief Justice Hamdan Zoelva refused to comment on Akil’s sentence, saying that Akil’s graft case had yet to be final and binding given the possibility of an appeal sought by his former colleague.
“[Any comments] will affect the ongoing process,” Hamdan said.
The former lawmaker from the Muslim-based Crescent Star Party (PBB) also said all of the court’s rulings on the local election disputes presided over by Akil could not be annulled.
Harjono, Akil’s former colleague at the court who retired recently, said that Akil’s lifetime prison sentence could not immediately restore public trust in the Constitutional Court.
“Although [Akil] received a heavy sentence that does not mean [public] trust in the court has been restored 100 percent immediately,” Harjono said.
But the sentence, he said, had set new benchmark against judicial officials.
“I hope such verdict is not imposed only on Akil, but on other corrupt judicial officials,” he pointed out.
Emerson Yuntho, an antigraft activist at the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), welcomed the ruling, which he deemed gave hope to the country’s antigraft campaign.