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Setya Novanto Fights Potential Jail Time
Indonesian House Speaker Setya Novanto. AP
Tuesday, 14 November, 2017 | 14:56 WIB
Setya Novanto Fights Potential Jail Time

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) finally confirmed news of Setya Novanto’s nomination as a suspect. The KPK has, for the second time, named the House of Representatives (DPR) speaker a corruption suspect in the home affairs ministry’s procurement of electronic ID cards (e-KTP) in 2011. "The KPK issued a criminal investigation order for suspect Setya Novanto on October 31," said KPK Deputy Chairman Saut Situmorang last Friday.

The written notification marking the beginning of a criminal investigation against Setya Novanto states KPK’s suspicion that Setya, along with other government officials either already in prison or now being tried, had committed corruption in the Rp5.9-trillion e-KTP procurement project.

It took a month for the KPK to evaluate and decide to again name the DPR Speaker suspect after the agency’s first loss in a pre-trial hearing. Setya’s suit at the South Jakarta District Court questioned his suspect nomination prior to questioning. The judge decided in his favor on September 29.

Read: Lawyer Setya Novantos Questioning Must be Approved by President

Judge Cepi Iskandar accepted Setya’s argument that a suspect status should have been issued by the KPK at the end of the criminal investigation. According to Cepi, naming Setya suspect before questioning him, despite having evidence and testimony from defendants on his involvement in the e-KTP corruption, was a violation of the criminal procedural law.

Another point Cepi considered was the reuse of evidence that had already been used against other suspects. Cepi disagreed that the KPK should be allowed to use the same evidence already brought against other suspects in the corruption scandal. These two points were deliberated by KPK leaders in a meeting held three days after Judge Cepi’s decision.

KPK leaders and investigators discussed the possibility of again indicting Setya on the same charge. According to one law enforcement official at the KPK, the leadership disagreed on the use of new evidence to indict Setya. "There were two camps in disagreement in regard to the pre-trial," said KPK Chairman Agus Rahardjo in October.

KPK leaders and investigators, said Agus, finally agreed that the Golkar Party chairman may be charged again, this time using investigative findings by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) when questioning Johannes Marliem before his death. Marliem was the director of Biomorf Lone LLC, a contractor for e-KTP server computers who was questioned by the FBI due to suspicion of owning assets acquired through corrupt means.

The Constitutional Court (MK) has actually nullified Cepi Iskandar’s second argument. MK judges disagreed with Cepi’s consideration that evidence may not be used to indict different suspects. According to the MK, same pieces of evidence may be used to indict two or more perpetrators in a corruption case. The KPK, however, decided to go along with Cepi’s rationale because the agency did not want their second attempt at indicting Setya Novanto to again fail, should it come under attack in a pre-trial suit. 

Read the full article in this week's edition of Tempo English Magazine

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