Budget Committee’s Wa Ode Faces 14 Years in Jail

By webadmin on 10:06 am Oct 03, 2012
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SP/Novianti Setuningsih

Prosecutors at the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court sought a 14-year prison sentence on Tuesday for former legislator Wa Ode Nurhayati for bribery and money-laundering charges.

Guntur Ferry, a prosecutor from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), told the court that the evidence against the defendant was sufficient to convict her on both counts.

He sought a four-year sentence for the bribery charge and an additional 10 years for the money-laundering charge.

“We urge the panel of judges to hand down a verdict declaring defendant Wa Ode Nurhayati legally and convincingly proven guilty of corruption,” Guntur said.

Prosecutors allege that Wa Ode, formerly of the National Mandate Party (PAN), took a Rp 5.5 billion bribe from businessman Fahd El Fouz, through an intermediary identified as Haris Andi Surahman, to get three districts in Aceh included in a lucrative infrastructure development program in 2011.

The KPK also alleges that Wa Ode, at the time a member of the House of Representatives’ notorious Budget Committee, also took a Rp 750 million bribe from another businessman, Abram Noah Mambu, to get Minahasa district in North Sulawesi included in the program, the Regional Infrastructure Adjustment Fund (DPID).

Prosecutor Jaya Sitompul said that although the money was given to her aide and never received in person by Wa Ode, official receipts had been made out that made it abundantly clear that she was the intended recipient of the bribes.

He added she was in a prime position to take the bribes because of her position in the Budget Committee, which was responsible for deciding on the allocation of the Rp 7.7 trillion DPID.

Jaya also said witness testimonies and evidence presented at the trial so far proved that the defendant held several meetings with Fahd and Haris, and that during one of the meetings she asked for a 5 percent commission for the allocation of funds for the three Aceh districts.

On the more serious charge of money-laundering, prosecutors allege that Wa Ode tried to erase all traces of the bribes by carrying out transfers between her various bank accounts and buying several assets.

She was found to have bought a house, though not in her name, in the upscale Guntur area of South Jakarta — a clear indication of her intentions to launder the money, prosecutors said.

The total value of monetary transactions linked to Wa Ode between October and November 2010, when the bribes were allegedly paid, was Rp 50.6 billion.

By contrast, she earned no more than Rp 1.6 billion as a legislator between October 2009 and September 2011, the KPK pointed out.

Prosecutors argued that Wa Ode’s inability to account for the provenance of her wealth further increased the burden of proof against her.

However, her lawyers said after the trial that the court had never asked Wa Ode to prove that her money was not earned through corruption. They said they would provide the evidence exonerating their client when the trial resumes next week.

Wa Ode also said she would speak in her own defense at the next hearing.