'Disappointing' Court Ruling Stokes Concern Over Deterrence Against Graft

Antigraft officials have called for stronger deterrence against corruption following what they called a 'disappointing' court ruling, which saw prominent lawyer Otto Cornelis Kaligis's prison sentence reduced by three years. (Antara Photo/M. Agung Rajasa)

By : Alin Almanar | on 8:40 PM December 23, 2017
Category : News, Corruption

Jakarta. Antigraft officials have called for stronger deterrence against corruption following what they called a "disappointing" court ruling, which saw prominent lawyer Otto Cornelis Kaligis's prison sentence reduced by three years.

The Supreme Court ruled this week in favor of the graft convict in a case review of its earlier ruling that sentenced him 10 years' imprisonment.

The latest ruling has underscored concerns over the judiciary's commitment to eradicating rampant graft in the country, Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) commissioner Laode M. Syarif said on Friday (22/12).

"If we talk about a deterrent effect in corruption eradication ... we for sure, feel disappointed," he told reporters, referring to the ruling.

"We are often criticized by members of the public over the weak deterrent effect resulting from light sentences," Laode said.

However, he added that the KPK nevertheless respects the ruling.

The Jakarta Corruption Court jailed Kaligis for five and a half years in 2015 and ordered him to pay a Rp 300 million ($22,000) fine, or another four months in prison.

Kaligis subsequently launched an appeal in the Jakarta High Court, which increased the 75-year-old lawyer's prison term to seven years instead.

Last year, he launched another appeal, this time in the Supreme Court, which further increased his prison term to 10 years, in accordance with KPK prosecutors' initial demands.

However, he did not give up and filed a judicial review of his case in the Supreme Court, which finally reduced his prison term to seven years, although he was also ordered to pay a Rp 300 million fine, or serve another three months in prison.

KPK spokesman Priharsa Nugraha said antigraft officials will study the judges' considerations in the ruling, adding that "there cannot be any other response than accept the verdict."

Kaligis was found guilty of having paid $27,000 and S$5,000 ($3,720) in bribes to judges and clerks at the Medan State Administrative Court.

The bribery was masterminded by then North Sumatra Governor Gatot Pujo Nugroho to get the court to rule against an investigation by the North Sumatra Prosecutor's Office into the embezzlement of social aid funds.

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