Police officers examine the scene on Friday (18/11) of the crash that sent House Speaker Setya Novanto to hospital. (Antara Photo/Reno Esnir)

Journalist Charged With Crashing Setya Novanto's Car


NOVEMBER 19, 2017

Jakarta. The Jakarta Police have charged the Indonesian television journalist who crashed the car belonging to House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto, while the latter was on the run from antigraft investigators, an official said.

Hilman Mattauch, a freelance journalist for Metro TV, is facing a three-month sentence for "careless driving and causing a traffic accident," Jakarta Police spokesman Chief Comr. Argo Yuwono said on Saturday (18/11)

"Yes, we have charged him [Hilman]," Argo told the Jakarta Globe.

"Hilman was driving Setya from the national legislative complex to the Metro TV studio," he said.

Hilman crashed the car into a power pole in South Jakarta on Thursday night.

Argo said Hilman was talking on his mobile phone while driving the car to do a live report for Metro TV. When the crash happened, Setya was sitting in the backseat.

Setya reportedly suffered a head injury and was rushed to a nearby hospital.

He was transferred to a state hospital in Central Jakarta on Friday for further treatment, including a CT scan.

Setya disappeared on Wednesday night after antigraft investigators from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) issued an arrest warrant against him in the billion-rupiah e-KTP graft case.

Metro TV managed the only phone interview with Setya from his hiding place a few hours before the car accident happened. The interviewer was Hilman.

Rumors abound that the journalist had helped Setya elude KPK investigators when they knocked on the doors of his mansion on Wednesday night, but police refused to confirm the allegations.

"Please ask the KPK [about the rumors]. KPK is the authority here," Argo told journalists.

Metro TV issued a statement on Friday, saying, "we're trying to find out if our freelance reporter Hilman Mattauch had violated journalism ethics and Metro TV's code of conduct to get his exclusive interview with Setya."

Don Bosco Selamun, the television station's editor-in-chief, said Hilman will face sanction if he was proven to have breached the rules.

KPK investigators raided the Golkar Party chairman's mansion on Wednesday night after he missed another interrogation with the antigraft agency.

Setya was named as a suspect for the second time in the e-KTP graft case in November after being acquitted of all charges by the South Jakarta district court in a controversial pretrial lawsuit.

The House speaker has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the case.

On Friday, KPK issued another arrest warrant to put Setya under the agency's custody, but his lawyer refused to sign it.

Setya has remained in the hospital under police guard.

The police have also interrogated Setya’s personal assistant, who is a police officer, Argo said.

Setya is accused of siphoning off Rp 574 billion ($42 million) from the Rp 5.9 trillion e-KTP project, which has resulted in a total of Rp 2.3 trillion in state losses.

The seasoned politician could face up to 20 years in jail if found guilty.