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Graft revealed after businessman aimed to even score with cop
Publication Date : 09-08-2012
Businessman Sukotjo S. Bambang saw himself falling toward perdition after missing the mark in providing the Indonesian police with hundreds of driving simulators ordered at an inflated price.
He was allegedly slapped with a sandal by the officer overseeing the procurement, Adj. Sr. Comr. Teddy Rismawan, at the West Java Police headquarters in Bandung.
The incident, which took place on July 4, 2011, was caught on a CCTV camera, and a copy of the recording was recently posted on YouTube.
Bambang's agony did not stop there, however. Several months later, West Java Police charged him with fraud in the procurement. The provincial higher court handed him a two-and-half-year jail term in June of this year.
Prior to his sentencing, and infuriated by the police's move, Bambang blew the whistle on them by filing a report late last year with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) about an alleged mark-up in the project.
"His decision to reveal the case was not an easy one. He received threats while serving his time in jail [at Kebonwaru Penitentiary in Bandung]," said Bambang's lawyer, Erick Samuel Paat. "He once received a cooked food from an unknown person. He was suspicious that the food may have contained arson."
It was not until the KPK began to investigate the case that Bambang came under the protection of the Witness and Victims Protection Agency.
The KPK's much-reported raid last month on the headquarters of the National Police Traffic Corps in South Jakarta and declare an active-duty, two-star police general, Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, a suspect in the case has at least lessened Bambang's woes.
"For Pak Bambang, it's payback time. He was happy to hear about the progress of the KPK's investigation and is willing to help the investigation in any way he can," said Paat.
Bambang became mired in the case after his company, PT Inovasi Teknologi Indonesia, received orders from PT Citra Mandiri Metalindo (CMM), a company owned by his business partner, Budi Susanto.
CMM had won the tender for the procurement of driving simulators worth 198.7 billion rupiah (US$24 million) back in 2010. The KPK suspects the true value of the simulators was far lower, at around 98 billion rupiah.
Bambang told the court during his trial that Susilo, who was then the National Police Traffic Corps chief, and his subordinates, Brig. Gen. Didik Purwanto and Teddy Rismawan, received kickbacks from CMM and his company to win the project.
According to the KPK, Bambang told them that Susilo had accepted around 2 billion rupiah from the companies.
Thus far, Susilo strongly denies the allegation. "I've accepted no kickbacks from the project," he said.
During his trial, Bambang also named the former chief of the National Police General Supervision Inspectorate, Comr. Gen. Nanan Sukarna, now deputy National Police chief, as being implicated in the case.
Sukarna, who is planning to run for the upcoming West Java gubernatorial election, recently denied the allegation.
"Our principles are transparency and accountability. Let us prove who allegedly paid me the money, and when and where [they paid it]," said Sukarna, who is an avid collector of Harley Davidson motorcycles.
However, a decision by the National Police to limit the KPK's investigative scope into the case has sparked speculation that the force is trying to protect certain high-ranking generals from being dragged down.
Police abruptly named Purwanto, Rismawan and Susanto suspects in the case last week, and presumed to begin their own investigation into the three men's activities, despite the KPK declaring them suspects long before the police.
"We're taking over the investigation [of the three suspects] because we've been working on it for some time," said National Police detective chief, Comr. Gen. Sutarman.
"If the KPK wants them, they should file a complaint with the court. They can have DS [Djoko Susilo] but they cannot have the others," Sutarman said.
Legal experts have said the police's decision to take over part of the case amounted to a violation of the KPK Law, which stipulates the commission's authority in leading on any graft case handled either by the police or the Attorney General's Office (AGO).
The police and the AGO, according to the law, are required to relinquish graft cases that they are handling to the KPK, should the commission request it.
Lawyer for the police, Juniver Girsang, said he would still explore the possibility of requesting a judicial review of the KPK Law following the commission's insistence on taking over the police investigation.
"We're also questioning the KPK's raid, which resulted in their taking many documents [from police headquarters] that are actually irrelevant to this case," said Girsang.
National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo and KPK chairman Abraham Samad met late on Monday in an attempt to settle their differences.
The meeting, however, did not result in a resolution.
"We've decided to cool the issue for the time being," said Samad, without elaborating further.