Lack of Evidence Corners Police On Empty Wiretaps

By : webadmin | on 12:58 AM August 12, 2010
Category : Archive

Farouk Arnaz & Dessy Sagita

Jakarta. The lawyer of Corruption Eradication Commission deputies Chandra M Hamzah and Bibit Samad Riyanto on Wednesday called on the National Police to publicly apologize to his clients after failing to produce wiretap recordings they claimed were evidence of bribery.

The National Police claimed on Tuesday that the recordings they mentioned were just data showing that calls had been made from phone numbers they said belonged to Ade Raharja, a commissioner in the body known as the KPK, and Ary Muladi, a suspected case broker.

Police earlier said they had wiretap recordings but had repeatedly failed to produce them in court as judges hearing a bribery case against businessman Anggodo Widjojo had requested.

“Its not a wiretap recording but just call data records. We will give the [records] to the Anti-Corruption Court today,” National Police chief of detectives Comr. Gen. Ito Sumardi told reporters.

During the trial, Anggodo said Ade contacted Ary soliciting a bribe, which Ary delivered to Chandra and Bibit. Ade and Ary, however, testified they had never contacted each other, and said the phone numbers cited by police were not theirs.

Alexander Lay, the lawyer for Chandra and Bibit, demanded the National Police apologize because the claim that they had the recordings had already caused his clients “irreparable damage.”

“The police should have been more professional. They should have known better about what they had and what they didn’t have, and they shouldn’t have waited through two previous hearings to admit that the recordings didn’t exist,” he said.

Bibit and Chandra were charged last year by the National Police with extorting Anggodo to the tune of Rp 5.1 billion ($571,000) but the case was dropped.

Anggodo is on trial for attempted bribery and obstruction of justice and is being prosecuted by the KPK

Lay said call data could not prove anything because it contained limited information.

“It’s no recording; it will only show that at this hour this number called that number. We don’t even know if the numbers in question really belong to Ade and Ary,” he said.

Alex said the KPK had previously conducted an internal investigation using call data collected from within its office.

“But we didn’t find any record that could prove there had been communication between Ade and Ary, and even if there were, how can we prove what they were talking about? It could be anything,” he said.

However, Rudi Satrio, a legal expert from University of Indonesia, told the Jakarta Globe that the data could be used as preliminary evidence and lead to further information.

“At least it can show that there has been contact between this person and that person, and from there it could be investigated what the content of the communication was,” he said. “It is actually very useful.”

Emerson Yuntho, deputy chairman of Indonesia Corruption Watch, said that Ito’s statement only reinforced suspicions that the police had sought to frame Bibit and Chandra.

“The inconsistency has proven what we have suspected all along,” he said, adding that the police could be said to have lied in court about the recordings.

“Why did they say that they had the recordings when they didn’t? And more importantly, why did they need to wait until the third hearing of the case to admit it,” he said.

Emerson said ICW and several other organizations were in the middle of discussions on whether they would seek legal action against the National Police over the matter.

He said that a lawsuit was the likely next step.