Sofyan Basir. (Antara Photo/M. Agung Rajasa)

Supreme Court Reinstates Former PLN Boss' Acquittal

BY :HERU ANDRIYANTO, FANA SUPARMAN

JUNE 17, 2020

Jakarta. The Supreme Court has turned down an appeal by the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, and reinstated the acquittal of former state electricity company PLN president director Sofyan Basir over a graft scandal, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Sofyan was acquitted by the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court in November last year in a rare defeat for the respected anti-graft agency.

The prosecutors demanded five years' imprisonment for Sofyan over his alleged role in a graft scandal in a power plant project in Riau province involving several politicians and businessmen, but the judges dismissed the indictment, citing lack of evidence.

The KPK immediately lodged an appeal to the Supreme Court, who delivered its verdict on Tuesday.

"The appeal by the prosecution team has been denied, because according to the appeal judge panel, there was no breach of the law in the earlier verdict by the Anti-Corruption Court," Supreme Court spokesman Andi Samsan Nganro said in Jakarta.

"The appeal judge panel has decided unanimously to turn down the prosecutors' appeal. The verdict was delivered on Tuesday," Andi said.

Former Golkar Party secretary-general Idrus Marham and former House of Representatives' energy commission deputy chairwoman Eni Maulani Saragih have been sentenced to jail terms for accepting Rp 4.75 billion ($337,250) in graft money to pave way for the Riau power plant project.

Johannes Budisutrisno Kotjo, a shareholder of Blackgold Natural Resources Ltd, was also found guilty of bribing the politicians.

The KPK prosecutors have alleged that Sofyan facilitated the bribery scandal.

Rare Defeat

Since its establishment in 2002, the KPK has lost in only three cases at the district court level, but it managed to turn things around in two of them at the Supreme Court.

In 2011, the KPK lost in a case against Bekasi district head Mochtar Mohammad but they managed to secure a guilty verdict at the Supreme Court.

They also first lost to Rokan Hulu district head Suparman in another graft trial in 2017, only to earn victory later on an appeal.

Sofyan is only the second defendant to elude conviction in a graft case brought forward by the KPK.

In July last year, the Supreme Court overturned a guilty verdict against Syafruddin Arsyad Temenggung, the former head of the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency, or IBRA.

Syafruddin was earlier found guilty by the Anti-Corruption Court and the Jakarta High Court for misusing his authority to issue a letter of acquittal to major debtor Sjamsul Nursalim in the aftermath of the 1998 Asian financial crisis. He had been sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment before his acquittal.
 

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