English Version
| Thursday, 18 October 2018 |
Indonesia Version

It`s Time, Setya...
Chief of House of Representative (DPR) Setya Novanto, delivered the opening speech during the plenary session in parliament, Jakarta, November 15, 2017. TEMPO/Dhemas Reviyanto
Wednesday, 22 November, 2017 | 14:32 WIB
It`s Time, Setya...

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - It is hard not to suspect that the car accident involving the Speaker of the House of Representatives Setya Novanto is just another ruse by Setya to evade the law. Last Thursday night, the vehicle in which Setyaa fugitive wanted by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for the electronic ID card (eKTP) scam was riding in ran into a street lamp post in Kebayoran, South Jakarta. Setya is rumored to have sustained a huge bump on his head and a bleeding wound on his arm. For that night, he had managed to avoid being snared by the anti-graft agency. 

From observations at the crash site and witness testimonies, and the fact the oneway road was half covered in heaps of soil, a speeding accident seemed improbable. The uninflated airbag meant the car was moving at less than 60 kilometers per hour. Another anomaly was that Setya’s aide and driver sitting in front did not sustain any injuries. 

Setya seems to consider hospital as his safe haven from the KPK. Last September, as he was about to be questioned as suspect, he found himself in an operating room at the Jatinegara Premier hospital in East Jakarta apparently for treatment of narrowed arteries. The Golkar party chairman’s health improved three days after the South Jakarta District Court judge Cepi Iskandar ruled in his favor regarding his suspect status.

The anti-graft agency refused to stand down. Armed with the legal premise given by the constitutional court’s ruling regarding the judicial review of article 77 of the Criminal Code, and new strong evidence, the KPK renamed Setya as a suspect. And now, once again, Setya is resorting to every ploy possible to stymie the process. He first skipped the investigation by arguing that the summon should have the President’s authorization. Last Wednesday, he again chose to avoid KPK investigators who came to his south Jakarta residence.

The eKTP graft case is an extraordinary crime that has caused the state to lose around Rp2.3 trillion, brought the single national identity project to a failure and caused difficulty for millions of people. Millions of citizens whose ID cards have expired still cannot receive new ones due to the unavailability of the blank cards. The KPK must stand firm against those who break the law whoever they are or whatever position they hold at whim. 

Firm actions are also called for against anyone assisting Setya in obstructing the investigation, including doctors and hospitals. Article 21 of the anti-corruption law stipulates three to 12 years imprisonment for anyone proven to deliberately prevent, obstruct and foil an investigation. The KPK should not hesitate to use the article. The KPK should also investigate its own employees as regards to rumors that Setya got a leak from his moles in the agency.

Now that the KPK has transferred Setya to Cipto Mangunkusumo hospital, the agency should thoroughly check his health status. If he is found to be feigning to be sick, he should be immediately thrown into the detention cell. If his hospital pretext is hard to be challenged, then the court can hold the trial in absentia. The trial will ultimately prove that the KPK cannot be pushed around an accusation being directed at the agency of late. 

President Joko Widodo must throw his all-out support behind the probe. The government must not let the Golkar party hold it captive through the ‘pledge’ for the 2019 elections. It is not wrong to aspire for the reelection, but it will be a huge betrayal to the people if the law is sacrificed for momentary political gains.

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

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