Antigraft Court Indicts Ex-House Speaker

Setya Novanto's graft trail begins on Wednesday (13/12). (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro)

By : Alin Almanar | on 11:46 PM December 13, 2017
Category : News, Crime, Corruption

Jakarta. Prosecutors pressed ahead with arraigning graft defendant Setya Novanto on Wednesday (13/12), in a trial hearing that was suspended several times over the former House of Representatives speaker's health complaints.

Setya repeatedly failed to reply to preliminary questions from the Jakarta Corruption Court panel of five judges by saying he was not fit enough answer. His wife, who attended the hearing, was seen wiping off tears.

However, Setya's health claims were dismissed by doctors who examined him when the hearing was suspended, and the judges eventually allowed Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors to read out the indictment against the former House speaker.

KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah said Setya's non-cooperation should be considered by the judges in their verdict.

Prosecutors arraigned Setya in connection with a graft case related to a Rp 5.9 trillion ($436 million) government project involving national electronic identity cards (e-KTP), which resulted in Rp 2.3 trillion state losses.

Setya "enriched himself" by $7.3 million by "directly and indirectly intervening in the [project's] budgeting and procurement" and misused his authority, KPK prosecutor Irene Putrie said at the court.

KPK prosecutors presented multiple alternative charges against Setya, who can face from one year to 20 years in prison and a fine between Rp 50 million and Rp 1 billion, if convicted.

The indictment came amid Setya's attempt to have his graft suspect status dropped by filing a pretrial motion with another court, the South Jakarta District Court, whose ruling is expected on Thursday.

The indictment at the antigraft court, however, in accordance with the code of criminal procedures should void the pretrial motion.

Setya's lawyers, citing his health and questioning the results of the doctors' examination, requested that Wednesday's hearing be adjourned.

Lawyer Maqdir Ismail accused KPK prosecutors of "forcing" the Jakarta Corruption Court judges to press ahead with the hearing just to block his client's pretrial appeal.

The hearing will continue on Dec. 20, when Setya's legal team will present its defense statement.

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