The Sting at Chamoe Chamoe
Herman was brought to the Police Headquarters in Blok M, South Jakarta. There, the District Court Judge was questioned for five hours by a team of investigators. The interrogation focused on his motives in ordering South Jakarta District Court clerk, Andry Djemmy Lumanauw to demand money from Jamsostek Risk Management Analysis Unit Chief, Wolter Sigalingging–a key witness in the highly controversial Jamsostek corruption case.
The Supreme Court approved Herman’s arrest on the Friday, however the Team of officers were unable to track Herman at his house in Ragunan. “We first checked Jakarta and then checked his house in Surabaya, but he was at neither place,” said Chief of Team, Hendarman Supandji. Herman had been staying with his brother in Bekasi for three days.
Herman is charged with attempted bribery and attempting to extort key witness Wolter Sigalingging. On December 21, Andry Djemmy Lumanauw approached Wolter, who would serve as a witness in the Jamsostek corruption case trial the next day.
Facing trial at the South Jakarta District Court were former Jamsostek president director, Ahmad Djunaidi and former Jamsostek investment director, Andi Rahman Alamsyah. Both Ahmad and Andi were facing charges of misappropriating funds from a debt claim from PT Bank Global, PT Dahana, PT Sapta Pranajaya, PT Surya Indo Pradana and PT Volgen, causing the state approximately Rp300 billion in losses.
Andry told Wolter that Judge Herman would probably declare him a suspect in the case. “It would be better if you met him before trial begins,” Andry suggested. According to Andry the purpose of the meeting was to ensure Wolter that he would not be named a suspect. However, Wolter ignored Andry’s threats.
The following day, Wolter took the stand to testify as one of the primary witnesses in the trial. During his testimony, Wolter denied being involved in analyzing the requests of troubled companies for loans. Chairing the judicial panel which tried the case, Judge Herman rebuked Wolter, threatening him that he “would also be declared a suspect and held in contempt for giving false testimony.” The judge’s threat confirmed Andry’s prediction.
A fortnight later, Andry again approached Wolter. “Judge Herman is demanding that you pay Rp200 million,” he warned Wolter, again threatening that he would certainly be declared a suspect if he refused to pay. “It was outrageous. They were trying to extort me,” Wolter recounted to Tempo. Wolter claims that he neither accepted nor rejected the request at the time.
However, Wolter then decided to contact the police, reporting the incident to the Director of Corruption Crimes at the Police Headquarters, Brigadier General Indarto. Indarto immediately contacted Team Chief, Hendarman Supandji. Hendarman in turn organized an emergency meeting at the AGO headquarters and proceeded to order the arrest of Andry Lumanauw. Hendarman also requested that Andry be caught red-handed. “The operation must be carried out as naturally as possible,” he told staff.
Wolter agreed to the plan and contacted Andry, claiming that he was willing to hand over the money demanded by Judge Herman. Andry suggested that they meet at the Chamoe-Chamoe Restaurant in Semanggi, South Jakarta. The two met at the restaurant at 9:20pm. Prior to this, Team for Eliminating Crimes of Corruption officers had already staked out the premises.
Andry was unaware that Wolter was recording the whole discussion on his mobile phone. As soon as Andry accepted the Rp10 million payment and put it in his pocket, officers from the Team swooped down on him and arrested him. They then persuaded Andry to call Judge Herman to inform him that Wolter had already handed over the money. Herman was also unaware that the phone call was being recorded. During the conversation, Herman unwittingly implicated himself in the operation.
Officers seized both the money and Andry’s and Wolter’s mobile phones as evidence. “They will be used as evidence in court. There was no bugging involved,” Hendarman clarified.
Following Andry’s arrest the next day, the Team visited the South Jakarta District Court to seize Judge Herman’s mobile phone. Also on that day, Attorney General Abdul Rahman Saleh sent a letter to Supreme Court chief Justice Bagir Manan requesting permission to arrest Herman. As soon as the approval letter was issued, the Attorney General ordered the immediate arrest of Judge Herman. Police officers finally tracked him down last Monday, at his house.
Hendarman said that Judge Herman will be charged with corruption under the Law on Corruption Crimes, which carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. “Our evidence is complete. He committed extortion. We have also seized and secured the mobile phone recordings of both conversations as evidence,” said Hendarman, adding that no other suspects have been declared yet. “In the meantime, we only have those two,” he said.
When Tempo met with Judge Herman in his cell last week, he confessed to the charges. “This was all my own initiative,” he admitted. Separately, the spokesperson for the South Jakarta District Court, Johanes Suhadi denied allegations that extortion and bribery were common practice at the South Jakarta District Court. Johanes also denied allegations that these practices were carried out to finance judicial operational costs. “There is no such thing. What are judicial operational costs? We are ordinary public servants, we don’t take trips abroad,” Johanes said. He also explained that the incident would have serious ramifications for the reputation of the South Jakarta District Court. “This is a heavy blow for all of us. Such practices should no longer be occurring,” he said.
In the meantime, the South Jakarta District Court has already postponed all cases presided over by Judge Herman. South Jakarta District Court Chairman, Soedarto appointed new judges to preside over the Jamsostek case. Chaired by Judge Sri Mulyani, the new panel comprises Judges Sultoni and Ahmad Sobari. South Jakarta District Court clerk Andry Lumanauw is to be dismissed.
According to Judicial Commission member, Irawady Joenoes, Judge Herman’s case shows that systematic crimes are still common in the judiciary. “These crimes are carried out quietly and inconspicuously. We can sense them but they are difficult to prove,” he claims. Irawady said that the Judicial Commission also plans to investigate Herman, although the judge will ultimately be handed over to the Supreme Court Justices Board of Honor for further investigation. “We still have the authority to investigate further into this case,” Irawady maintained.
L.R. Baskoro, Abdul Manan, Maria
TEMPO, JANUARY 23, 2006-020/P. 18 Heading Law