Home Affairs Ministry officials Sugihartoo, left, and Irman prepare to take their seats during a trial session in the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court on Monday (27/03). A Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator said several lawmakers threatened Hanura lawmaker Miryam S. Haryani not to reveal their alleged involvement in the e-KTP corruption case.(Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

Lawmakers Allegedly Threatened Key Witness in e-KTP Graft Case


MARCH 30, 2017

Jakarta. Novel Baswedan, an investigator with the national antigraft agency, said several lawmakers threatened Miryam S. Haryani, a lawmaker of the People's Conscience Party, or Hanura, not to reveal their alleged involvement in a high-profile corruption case related to the procurement of electronic identity cards, or e-KTP.

Novel testified during a hearing of the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court on Thursday (30/03) at the request of the panel judges, following claims by Miryam, who is a key witness in the case, that she was forced to sign a false investigation report.

The report listed the names of politicians who allegedly received bribes to approve the Rp 5.9 trillion ($442 million) e-KTP procurement project.

This included Golkar Party lawmaker Melchias Marcus Mekeng, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly and Marzuki Ali, a former speaker in the House of Representatives. All of them except Marzuki used to serve on House Commission II, which oversees home affairs.

Novel and Miryam were scheduled to be questioned during Monday's hearing, but the latter failed to attend due to an undisclosed illness.

Speaking during Thursday's hearing, Novel said several lawmakers – including Bambang Soesatyo and Azis Syamsuddin of Golkar; Desmond J. Mahesa of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra); and Masinton Pasaribu of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) – allegedly threatened Miryam not to tell the truth to Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators.

"She was instructed not to admit the fact that they had received bribes," Novel told the hearing.

He added that he had given Maryam his phone number to call him if she felt threated but that she refused the offer.

He added that she admitted on several occasions during the investigation that bribes were paid to several lawmakers.

During the hearing, prosecutors also showed a video of Miryam's questioning.

In response to the allegation, Desmond of Gerindra told the Jakarta Globe that "it is better to confront the three of us in court."

"What does that case have to do with me? I don't know Miryam, we're not in the same party and I don't even have her phone number," he said.

"One more thing; I'm in House Commission III [which oversees legal affairs], not in Commission II. Where's the correlation between me and the case? I don't know who's lying or bluffing, is it Miryam, or Novel? I challenge them to confront me in court," Desmond added.

Masinton responded in a similar fashion by saying that he barely meets Miryam because they are not in the same party, nor do they serve on the same House commission.

"I can assure you that the allegation of me intimidating and threatening Miryam is not true," he told the Jakarta Globe.

"I just met Bambang Soesatyo and Desmond in a meeting room of House Commission III. Both of them also denied Novel's testimony in court."

Home Affairs Ministry officials Sugiharto and Irman are currently on trial on charges of having embezzled funds from the e-KTP project, which resulted in Rp. 2.3 trillion in state losses.

The project, which was supposed to provide biometric ID cards to all Indonesians aged 17 years and older, was mothballed in October 2015 following a series of problems, including a late start, technical glitches and officials demanding payments from residents to provide the ostensibly free service.