House Speaker's Pretrial Motion May Be Pointless: Presiding Judge

House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto is accused of embezzling Rp 574 billion ($42 million) from the Rp 5.9 trillion worth national electronic identity cards project, known as e-KTP, that resulted in Rp 2.3 trillion state losses. (Antara Photo/M. Agung Rajasa)

By : Alin Almanar | on 11:33 PM December 08, 2017
Category : News, Corruption

Jakarta. The judge in Setya Novanto's latest pretrial motion on Friday (08/12) cast doubt on whether the proceeding makes sense.

The House of Representatives speaker filed the motion with the South Jakarta District Court to get acquitted of graft charges and avoid trial at a corruption court.

In early October, Setya's legal team won his first pretrial motion in the same case, also at the South Jakarta District Court, to clear him as a suspect in a multi-million graft case. A few weeks later, however, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) managed to charge Setya again, and Wednesday the case files were transferred to the Jakarta Corruption Court.

Since the pretrial ruling is expected on Dec. 14, in accordance with the code of criminal procedures it will be void if everything goes as scheduled and charges against Setya are read the antigraft court on Dec. 13.

The House speaker's lawyers have been trying to convince the judge, Kusno, to speed up the process and have the ruling before next week's trial, but the court still needs to hear witnesses — reportedly three brought by Setya's legal team and five from the KPK.

Kusno himself raised concerns over the usefulness of the pretrial motion.

"Does it make sense to go ahead with this? The only way to end it, if we want to, is that the complainant withdraws it," he said.

During Friday's hearing, KPK officials countered claims by Setya's lawyers that the move to name him a suspect was "procedurally flawed."

They cited statutory interpretation of the 2002 Law on the KPK, which dozens of times was in favor of antigraft investigators in similar cases.

Shrinking Defense

For Setya the situation becomes increasingly complex, as two of his lawyers, Otto Hasibuan and Fredrich Yunadi, on Friday announced they will no longer defend him.

While Fredrich refused to reveal the reasons, Otto said Setya had failed to reach an agreement on how the case should be handled by his legal team.

"This could yield complications not only for me, but for him as well," Otto said, adding that he thanks for the trust and wishes the team a good legal fight.

Setya is accused of embezzling Rp 574 billion ($42 million) from the Rp 5.9 trillion worth national electronic identity cards project, known as e-KTP, that resulted in Rp 2.3 trillion state losses. He can face 20 years in prison, if convicted.

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