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The Consequences of a 'Flawed System'

The Corruption Crimes Court has declared KPU member Mulyana Kusumah guilty. In the meantime, the KPK has vouched to continue investigations into further allegations of corruption involving the KPU.

LAST Monday, Gina Santayana, the eldest daughter of Mulyana Kusumah listened intently to judicial panel chairperson Masruddin Chaniago as he read out the court's verdict over her father at the Corruption Crimes Court in Jakarta. When Chaniago delivered the verdict, Santayana burst into tears. "That is not fair," she cried after Chaniago announced that the court had sentenced the defendant to "two years and seven months in prison."

Kusumah, a member of the General Elections Commission (KPU), was found guilty of bribing Supreme Audit Agency investigating audit team chief, Khairiansyah Salman. Kusumah was caught handing over Rp150 million to Salman at the Ibis Hotel in Slipi, Jakarta, last April.

According to the presiding judicial panel, Kusumah had violated Article 5 of Law No. 20/2001 on Eliminating Crimes of Corruption. This provision specifically targets people who commit bribery with the intention of asking a government official to grant them a favor. The legislation carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a Rp250 million fine.

Ironically, the court verdict over Kusumah was more lenient than the prosecutor's indictment had called for. In his indictment, the prosecutor called upon the court to sentence Kusumah to three years in prison in addition to a Rp50 million fine. Kusumah himself reacted calmly to the verdict. When asked whether he planned to accept the verdict or appeal it, Kusumah said, "I will think about it first."

Kusumah's lawyer, Sirra Prayuma, expressed disappointment with the verdict. Prayuma claims that the court did not take into consideration certain factors that prompted Kusumah to commit the act. According to Prayuma, Kusumah was merely honoring an agreement made between Mubari and Khairiansyah at the Miyama restaurant in the Borobudur Hotel on March 10. "Kusumah was merely fulfilling the commitment made during that meeting," Prayuma explained.

Prayuma also criticized the court for not taking into consideration the fact that Kusumah provided a great service to the nation as a member of the KPU. "Kusumah participated in the process of consolidating democracy by helping to bring about peaceful and smooth elections. The court should have considered this service," said Prayuma.

However, Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Deputy Chairperson of Action, Tumpak Hatorangan Panggabean, claims that the court did consider Kusumah's services in delivering its verdict. According to Panggabean, the fact that the prosecution only called upon the court to sentence Kusumah to three years in prison, and the fact that the court only sentenced Kusumah to two years in prison prove that the court considered these factors. "They were considered, although not explicitly mentioned," said Panggabean.

In the meantime, anti-corruption activists have called upon the KPK to continue its investigations into further allegations of corruption involving members of the KPU. Deputy Coordinator of Indonesia Corruption Watch, Lucky has pushed the KPK to actively investigate these cases. Lucky suggests that the KPK investigate both KPU members and KPU secretary staff, claiming that evidence already exists implicating other KPU members of corrupting state funds. "The buck should not stop at Mulyana alone," he said.

For the KPK, these public demands are justified. "Investigations into alleged corruption involving the KPU will definitely not stop here," said Panggabean.

Separately, former KPU deputy secretary-general, Sussongko Suhardjo, was sentenced to two years and six months in prison, last Monday, having also been found guilty of bribing Khairiansyah Salman.

Salman himself has refused to comment on the court verdict over Kusumah, other than to say "The court verdict must be respected." Salman also warned that any person could suffer a similar fate to Kusumah. "Kusumah is a good person, the system forced him to act that way," he said.

In the meantime, Kusumah's case may have triggered a corruption witch-hunt. Reports have surfaced that a number of other KPU officials will also be tried. Among this list of suspects is the former KPU head of election ink provision, Rusadi Kantaprawira; former KPU public bureau chief, Bambang Budiarto; former KPU secretary-general, Safder A. Yussac, and Mochamad Dentjik. "The investigation case files over Rusadi are almost finished," said Panggabean.

At present, KPU Chairperson, Nazaruddin Sjamsuddin, and Finance Bureau chief, Hamdani Amin, are currently being tried at the Corruption Crimes Court. The prosecution has accused both Sjamsuddin and Amin of misappropriating US$566,795 in insurance premium discount funds given to the KPU by PT Asuransi Umum Bumi Putera Muda. Also facing trial is the former treasury chief for XI Jakarta, Soedji Darmono. Darmono has been charged with accepting US$40,000 and Rp50 million from former KPU Deputy Treasurer Mochamad Dentjik.

Former budget sub-directorate chief at the Department of Finance, Ishak Harahap, is also currently being investigated by the KPK. Harahap has been accused of accepting US$39,000 from Dentjik in order to push through the revised budget proposed by the KPK. Separately, Cecep Harefa, project broker for the provision of election pamphlets is also facing trial. "They have all been placed in custody," said Panggabean. It remains to be seen how many other KPU members will also be brought to trial.

Abdul Manan, Siska S. Handayani

TEMPO, SEPTEMBER 26, 2005-003/P. 44 Heading Law

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