Heru Andriyanto & April Aswadi
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been officially notified that the cases against suspended Corruption Eradication Commission deputies Bibit Samad Rianto and Chandra M Hamzah have been dropped and he is now preparing a decree to reinstate the two, presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said on Friday.
“We received the notification on Thursday evening and are now in the process of drafting a presidential decree” to reinstall Bibit and Chandra to their posts, Julian said.
Bibit and Chandra were suspended in September after they were named suspects on charges of extortion and abuse of power, but the Attorney General’s Office dropped all charges on Tuesday despite its insistence that the cases against the two were “fit for trial.”
Marwan Effendy, deputy attorney general for special crimes, said earlier that the decision to drop the cases was based on the need “to bring harmony between law agencies” and that it would be “morally harmful” to bring the cases to court.
A group of lawyers has submitted a petition with the AGO challenging the decision.
Acting Deputy Attorney General Darmono told reporters on Friday that his office had sent a formal notification about the termination of the criminal cases against Bibit and Chandra to the president, who needs the letter as the basis to issue a decree for their return to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
“I have received a report that the letter was sent to the president on December 3,” Darmono said. He added, however, that he would make no further comment on the reinstatement of the suspended deputies to the KPK.
The KPK’s unrestricted authority to tap the telephones of people linked to its graft investigations indirectly helped secure the release of the two deputies, after wiretapped conversations hinted at a plot to undermine the KPK in retaliation for launching a probe into fugitive graft suspect Anggoro Widjojo.
Once reinstated, Bibit vowed to continue graft investigations into Anggoro and his company, PT Masaro Radiokom, in relation to a Forestry Ministry project, as well as into the controversial Rp 6.7 trillion ($710 million) government bailout of PT Bank Century.
Bibit added that during his suspension he spent his time visiting relatives and old friends.
Chandra made an appearance on a television talk show on Thursday evening, and said that his suspension had been a blessing in disguise.
“I have been able to spend more time with my daughter. We play hide and seek, read stories, all kinds of things I never had the time for. I’m thankful,” Chandra told TVOne.