An investigator’s extortion

AsiaViews, Edition: 21/III/Jun/2006
For the first time a KPK investigator is prosecuted for extortion. An independent investigation for the commission is proposed.
ADJUNCT Police Commissioner Suparman seemed emotional after the prosecution finished reading its indictment at the Corruption Crimes Court, last Tuesday. The former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigating officer could not hold back. “Tintin should be the suspect. I will prove who the real corruptor is and who the hero is!” Suparman erupted.
Suparman could not hide his anger at Tintin Surtini, a witness in the corruption case of the sale of PT Industri Sandang Nusantara assets in Patal Cipadung, Bandung. Surtini’s testimony before the KPK was the grounds for Suparman’s indictment. Suparman had been assigned to investigate the “Sandang scandal.” Suparman has been charged with extorting Surtini, the notary who handled the PT Industry Sandang asset sale.
This is the first time that a KPK investigator has been prosecuted in the courts for abusing their position. Pursuant to the Laws on Corruption Eradication, the charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. However, since Suparman was working for the KPK, the indictment called for an additional penalty of one-third of the maximum penalty under law. “This is in accordance with the Laws on the KPK,” said KPK Deputy Chairperson of Action, Tumpak Hatorangan Panggabean.
Suparman has been charged with committing extortion since June 14, 2005. At that time, Suparman allegedly asked Surtini to purchase him a Nokia 9500 mobile phone. On July 22, Suparman again called Surtini saying: “Meet me in Bandung with Rp50 million operational funds for my colleagues.” According to Prosecutor Firdaus, Surtini gave Suparman Rp40 million at the Rasa Bakery & Café in Bandung.
Suparman’s extortion of Surtini continued, including demands for payment for investigation processes. According to the prosecution, Suparman received Rp413 million and US$300 in addition to three Nokia 9500 mobile phones, 24 sets of prayer beads, and a Kia Atoz car worth Rp100 million. The extortion only ended on March 13, 2006.
Evidently, Suparman had begun to suspect that the KPK was on to him. Suparman even returned Rp100 million of the money to Surtini. However, he was too late. Shortly after the money had been returned, KPK officers arrested Suparman at his house in the Nuansa Mas Housing Complex in Bandung. Suparman was taken to Indonesian Police Headquarters in Jakarta with the Rp100 million as evidence.
Suparman’s attorney, Herman Barus, has rejected claims that Suparman extorted Surtini. “The prosecutor’s indictment is false,” said Barus, claiming that Suparman had been coerced to corroborate the prosecutor’s version of events. “Suparman never confronted that version of events,” said Barus.
According to Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) member, Adnan Topan Husodo, Suparman’s case shows that the KPK is not a fully clean institution. “The KPK needs to strengthen its internal monitoring,” said Adnan.
According to Adnan, all processes at the KPK are actually vulnerable to abuse of power. At the investigation level, KPK investigating officers can tamper with evidence or postpone investigations. “At the prosecution level, KPK investigators can play with the legal stipulations to ensure that a defendant be exonerated,” he added.
Former member of the Special Committee deliberating the KPK bill at the House of Representatives (DPR), Firman Djaja Daeli confirmed the need for a stronger internal monitoring mechanism within the KPK. “Such a mechanism is absolutely necessary to prevent similar cases from occurring,” he said. Firman admitted that the DPR had not accounted for how the KPK would monitor its investigators. According to Firman, the DPR had decided that it was within the powers of the KPK to decide upon such a system.
Adnan also emphasized that internal supervisors should maintain an independent position, separate from KPK leadership. According to him, the existing supervising system is only effective for mid- and low-ranking officers. “The effectiveness of this system is clearly questionable with regards to KPK leaders,” he said.
In the meantime, Tumpak Hatorangan Panggabean denied that the KPK lacked an effective internal monitoring system. “We have a multitude of regulations to prevent everyone, including KPK leaders, from abusing their powers,” he said. According to Tumpak, these regulations are contained not only within the KPK Laws, but also within KPK internal regulations, including the investigator’s code of ethics.
This code of ethics prohibits investigators from receiving payment for any activities carried out in connection with their KPK duties, receiving assistance from anyone that may result in a conflict of interests, and even playing golf with any person that might directly or indirectly result in a conflict of interests. “So, if any investigator violates these regulations, they should be fired,” said Panggabean.
By LRB, Abdul Manan, Endang Purwanti
Tempo, No. 40/VI/June 6-12, 2006

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