The attorney of Siti Hartati Murdaya has accused prosecutors from the Corruption Eradication Commission of manipulating facts in their letter of charges and sentence recommendation, as prosecutors prepare to charge the businesswoman with bribery.
Hartati is said to have offered Rp 3 billion ($313,000) in kickbacks to Amran Batalipu, the former head of Central Sulawesi’s Buol district.
Hartati initially claimed the money was a donation, but later said she was extorted by Amran.
“The prosecutors intentionally manipulated facts in their letter of charges and sentence recommendation. This made the defendant look as though she jointly committed [with others] what was being charged against her,” lawyer Dodi Abdul Kadir said when reading out his client’s defense at the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court on Monday.
Dodi said the prosecutors accused his client of giving orders to her subordinates to pay Rp 3 billion in bribery to the Buol district head in exchange for land concessions for her palm plantation.
Dodi emphasized that the prosecutors could not prove the accusation during the trial.
Hartati’s subordinates Yani Anshori and Gondo Sudjono were both witnesses, and testified that they never issued a statement that said the money they used to bribe Amran came from Hartati.
“Neither Yani nor Gondo had stated ‘This [money] is from Siti Hartati Murdaya,’ when they paid Amran on June 26,” Hartati’s attorney said.
Dodi also said there was no proof supporting the claim that Hartati knew, allowed and ordered a Rp 3 billion payment to Amran and added that the evidence wasn’t conclusive if it didn’t match with witnesses’ testimonies, documents and the defendant’s testimony.
“Totok Lestiyo [Hardaya Inti Plantations’ director] testified in the trial, saying it was his idea to make a Rp 1 billion bribe,” Dodi added.
Dodi said the Rp 1 billion was allocated for the security of the company and plantation in Buol, which was in accordance with witnesses’ testimonies that said there had been security problems in December 2011 and May 2012.
Dodi asked the judges to free his client from all charges as a result of the incorrect data submitted by prosecutors. “If the panel of judges has a different opinion, please hand down a sentence as fair as possible and as light as possible,” he said.
Hartati, who also read out her defense, denied the accusation that she bribed Amran in exchange for several recommendation letters, saying that her company did not need any recommendations .
“Those three letters are useless,” Hartati said.