Police’s Sri ‘a Little Fish’ in Gayus Case

By webadmin on 11:21 pm Sep 27, 2010
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Heru Andriyanto

Jakarta. Lawyers for Adj. Comr. Sri Sumartini, the policewoman accused of taking a bribe from rogue taxman Gayus Tambunan, asked the court on Monday how a low-ranking officer could influence a major investigation while other players in the case, such as prosecutors, went free.

Sri is one of nine suspects on trial for the controversial acquittal of Gayus, who escaped money-laundering and corruption charges in March after allegedly paying law enforcers billions of rupiah to reduce his charge to embezzlement.

She faces a two-year sentence if found guilty.

Her defense team reminded the judges about testimony by witnesses that prosecutors Cirus Sinaga and Fadil Regan had persuaded police to charge Gayus with embezzlement so they could stay on the case.

If Gayus had been implicated solely on corruption, the case would be handled by a separate division at the Attorney General’s Office, the defense team said.

Lawyer Judiati Setyoningsih pointed out to the South Jakarta District Court that Brig. Gen. Edmon Ilyas and Brig. Gen. Raja Erizman, who had been Sri’s superiors, had testified that the prosecutors fought to include the embezzlement article.

Soon after the police charging documents were modified, Gayus’s suspiciously large bank accounts, which held Rp 28 billion ($3.1 million), were unfrozen.

Gayus is being tried along with two police officers, a judge, two lawyers, two businessmen and a suspected case broker after the scandal broke.

But prosecutors from his first trial, which ended in acquittal, remain off the hook, despite a finding by an internal inquiry in the AGO that their indictment was against procedures.

The AGO has leveled disciplinary sanctions against 13 prosecutors involved in the Gayus case, with the heaviest punishment being demotion.

The defense team stressed that Sri was a low-ranking officer whose main duty in the Gayus case was to type and print documents, and that she played no role in the taxman allegedly setting up a bogus business deal in an attempt to legitimize his wealth.

The argument was consistent with testimony by Gayus himself, who had said earlier in the same courthouse that Sri had mainly prepared documents and fetched drinks during his interrogation by police.

“Given her low rank, can the defendant make a major influence in the Gayus case? We think not,” Judiati said.

Speaking separately, acting Attorney General Darmono delivered the familiar argument that the police held the sole authority to decide whether prosecutors in the first Gayus trial would be charged.

He said an investigation into Cirus was underway.