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KPU Under Fire

Who would have thought that Mulyana W. Kusumah would find himself in the defendant's chair at the Corruption Crimes Court?

LOCATED in Kuningan, South Jakarta, the courthouse was packed with visitors. At the outset of the court session, prosecutors Suwarji, Chatarina Muliana and Muhibuddin gave a chronology of the events surrounding the misappropriation of ballot boxes during the 2004 General Elections.
The prosecution started with Mulyana's meeting with KPU Deputy Secretary-General, Sussondko Suhardjo, who endorsed the contract for the provision of ballot boxes, in January 2005. At the time, Mulyana was acting in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee for the Supply of Election Ballot Boxes for 2004.

According to the prosecution, this meeting was held to discuss the results of investigation reports issued by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) Investigation Inspecting Sub-team, indicating corruption, collusion and nepotism during the provision of ballot boxes. The prosecution then discussed Mulyana's meeting with the secretary of the Committee for the Supply of Ballot Boxes, Richard Manusun Purba, and Khairiansyah Salman of the BPK on February 3, 2005 at the General Elections Commission (KPU) offices.

During that meeting, Kusumah allegedly promised to comply with a request from the Inspecting Sub-team to hand over documents linked to the box provision process. Kusumah, Purba and other committee members then met with the BPK Sub-team members 13 days later. During that second meeting, Kusumah reportedly promised to submit a written explanation to a number of questions from the Sub-team concerning technical qualifications and evaluations.

The prosecution then examined a following meeting held between Salman, Mulyana, Mubari and Sussongko Suhardjo at the Borobudur Hotel on March 10. During this meeting, Mubari allegedly asked Salman to help destroy investigation report findings of misappropriation during the ballot box supply process. According to the prosecution, Mubari promised to pay Salman between Rp200-300 million to destroy the findings. "This meeting was already under KPK (Corruption Eradication Commission) supervision," said Prosecutor Suwarji.

According to the prosecution, Mulyana sent Salman an SMS message on March 31, informing him that the money would be transferred in two shipments because he only had half of the money at the time. Salman forwarded this message to his boss at the BPK, Hasan Basri. Salman replied to the message, agreeing to meet with Mulyana at the Ibis Hotel in Slipi, Jakarta at 7:30pm on April 3.

Kusumah arrived at this meeting 10 minutes early and handed over a stack of envelopes containing Rp150 million. The whole transaction was monitored by the KPK. Just one day after this meeting, Mulyana reportedly informed KPU Chairman Nazaruddin Sjamsuddin and Sussongko Suhardjo that they were still Rp150 million short. Suhardjo said that he would check about this with KPU Finance Bureau chief, Hamdani Amin.

Following this, Mulyana reportedly sent an SMS message to Nazaruddin, stating: "I need the money now." According to Prosecutor Suwarji, this SMS was forwarded to Suhardjo, who forwarded it on to Hamdani. Later that day, Hamdani issued four Bank Mandiri travelers checks for Rp25 million. Mubari finally received the remaining Rp50 million on April 6.

Following this, Mulyana reportedly agreed to meet with Salman at the Ibis Hotel in Jakarta. Mulyana turned up with the remaining Rp150 million. During this meeting, Salman reportedly told Mulyana that this was bribery, to which Mulyana nodded and replied: "Yes, this is indeed bribery." Both parties entered the hotel room and completed the transaction.

Mulyana has been indicted on corruption charges under Article 5 of Law No. 20/2001 on the Elimination of Crimes of Corruption. This provision carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and an additional fine of Rp250 million. However, Mulyana's attorney, Firman Wijaya, claims that the prosecution's indictment is vague. Wijaya also questioned the prosecution's application of Article 55 of the Criminal Code. "Did he give the money and accept it, or did he merely assist?" Wijaya questioned.

Wijaya argues that if Mulyana is charged with making a bribe, then someone else must be charged with receiving the bribe. "According to the anti-corruption laws, both sides should be sanctioned."

Separately, Mulyana himself refused to comment on the trial. When asked about the SMS messages sent to Nazaruddin, which indicate that Mulyana was involved in the scandal, Mulyana said: "Just wait for my legal defense," he said.

Abdul Manan, Arief Kuswardono, Yuswardi, Jojo Rahardjo

TEMPO, JUNE 27, 2005-042/P. 48 Heading Law


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