Members of the House Ethics Council grill Freeport Indonesia CEO Maroef Sjamsoeddin during a Dec. 3 tribunal into alleged misconduct by House Speaker Setya Novanto. (Antara Photo/M. Agung Rajasa)

House Speaker’s Tribunal to Wait Until After Ethics Council’s Russia Jaunt


DECEMBER 03, 2015

Jakarta. Any hope for meaningful insights into the biggest corruption scandal in Indonesian history now unfolding before a parliamentary tribunal will have to wait more than a month as legislators get an early start on their year-end recess.

National attention this past week has been focused on the House of Representatives’ Ethics Council, which is holding a tribunal to hear allegations that House Speaker Setya Novanto attempted to shake down mining giant Freeport Indonesia for 20 percent of shares, worth an estimated $4 billion.

The tribunal on Wednesday heard from Sudirman Said, the energy minister, who first reported Setya to the Ethics Council. On Thursday, it was the turn of Freeport Indonesia chief executive Maroef Sjamsoeddin, whose secret recording of a conversation in June with Setya and prominent oilman Muhammad Riza Chalid forms the bedrock of the allegations against the House speaker.

Both Sudirman and Maroef have stood by their allegations against Setya, citing the audio recording that was played before the tribunal on Wednesday evening and broadcast live on national television.

Riza was also scheduled to testify on Thursday but failed to show up. Setya himself is only slated to appear before the tribunal next Monday.

For the rest of next week, though, the Ethics Council has scheduled other activities, before it departs on a “study trip” to Russia from Dec. 13 to 19.

The House goes into recess from Dec. 19, and only reconvenes on Jan. 11.

The Ethics Council has not said when it expects to resume the tribunal after the New Year break.

The scale of the alleged shakedown, if true, would make it the biggest corruption scandal in Indonesian history.