Indonesian President’s Team Finds No Evidence in Anticorruption Saga

The fact-finding team appointed to review the National Police’s handling of two suspended members of the country’s antigraft commission confirmed on Monday they had found the police did not have sufficient preliminary evidence to suspect the pair of abuse of power and extortion. Adnan Buyung Nasution, a presidential adviser heading the so-called Team of Eight, told a news conference that the National Police had been unable to provide solid evidence that Bibit Samad Rianto and Chandra M Hamzah, the suspended deputy chairmen of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), had ever received bribe money. “[The only] evidence that police were able to provide was the disbursement of money from Anggodo to Ary Muladi,” he said. “The argument that Ary Muladi channeled the money to Bibit Samad Rianto and Chandra Hamzah, directly or indirectly, is not supported by solid evidence.” Adnan was referring to businessman Anggodo Widjojo, the brother of fugitive Anggoro Widjojo who is wanted in a graft investigation, and Ary Muladi, who police have accused of being the middleman in the bribery case. The National Police have insisted that they were right in naming the antigraft commissioners as suspects in their investigation, saying that the evidence against them was overwhelming. Police have accused Bibit and Chandra of receiving Rp 1.5 billion ($160,000) and Rp 1 billion respectively from Anggoro through Anggodo, in return for not naming Anggoro a suspect in one of the KPK’s investigations. “There are too many missing links,” Team of Eight member Todung Mulya Lubis told the Jakarta Globe. “It’s [the team’s] belief that it’s quite difficult for prosecutors to prove that there is a case.” However, Todung was reluctant to say whether or not there was indeed a plot to oust Bibit and Chandra from their posts at the KPK. “We’ll let the people decide. Let people judge [for themselves],” he said. Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto forwarded the team’s report to the president. Djoko later said that the president had asked the National Police and the Attorney General’s Office to respond to the report. Anies Baswedan, another member of the fact-finding team, said that recommendations would be prepared for the president before the team’s term ended on Monday. However, both the team and the legal affairs minister have acknowledged that the team has no power to stop the National Police or the Attorney General’s Office from pursuing the case. “The team only verifies whether the legal facts [in the case] are valid. The legal process cannot be stopped by anyone, and the same applies to any case,” Djoko said at the State Palace. The deputies’ lawyer, Bambang Wijoyanto, applauded the team’s findings and said he hoped that its recommendations would also reflect the team’s stance on the case. “The team must evaluate the social implications of the case and not just the formal legal procedures,” he said. “The team must recommend the president side with the social and legal justice accepted by the Indonesian people, especially in view of the overwhelming evidence of a plot to undermine the KPK.” But Hasril Hertanto, a University of Indonesia analyst, said the team must be firmer, including recommending that all officials involved in the apparent plot be charged with obstruction of justice and that Anggodo, who has openly admitted that he provided the illicit money, be charged with attempted bribery. “The president must instruct the Attorney General’s Office to thoroughly examine the case before prosecuting it, and warn it not to be in a rush to accept the case,” he said. The police, he added, should be transparent in their investigation to reassure the public the case was not fabricated. “If there was indeed a plot, police must prosecute all those who were involved.”

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