Sunday, May 10, 2009

We had to get up early this morning, early for a Sunday that is.

There have been a few cases of dengue fever in our area, so our area community heads put their heads together and organised a fumigation.

This involves hiring a guy using a portable two-stroke engine to pump noxious exhaust fumes through our houses and up and down the drainage ditches that line our roads and alleys. We rarely hear the high pitched whine of an onomatapoeic nyaaaamuk (mosquito) in Jakartass Towers but we go along with this annual procedure, taking our mugs of coffee, PSPs, whatever, into the street and waiting for nearly an hour before we can breathe safely indoors.

The results are tangible in that we then have to spend an hour or so sweeping up countless cockroaches which crawl out from dark places and forlornly try to fly off or spin around on their backs. Thankfully, knowing we are greatly outnumbered, we don't feel any remorse at their demise.

I use these periods of being busy doing nothing to contemplate about this and that.

Today I can't resist comparing our domestic issue with what promises to be as great a scandal in high places as the tragic killing of Munir.

Antasari Azhar, the chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), has been arrested on a charge of masterminding the murder of his golf buddy, businessman Nasruddin Zulkarnaen. He was shot twice in the head by a man on a Yamaha Scorpio motorcycle on 14th March 2009, as he was leaving the Modernland golf course, Tangerang, in his car.

For fuller details of this case and comments, read Indonesian Matters, but here are a few details I've freely lifted.

- The execution of the, erm, execution has resulted in the arrest of nine men:
# Antasari the alleged mastermind.
# Sigid Haryo Wibisono, a Commissioner of PT Pers Indonesia Merdeka (PIM), ex-Golkar official but now with Gus Dur's PKB and owner of Harian Merdeka, provided the funding.
# Williardi Wizard alias Wizar, ex Chief of South Jakarta Police, facilitator and gave kill order to Edo.
# Jerry Hermawan, contact between Edo and Wiliardi.
# Eduardus Ndopo alias Edo.
# Fransiskus Tadon Keran alias AMSI, security guard, scoped out the area.
# Hendrikus Kia Walen alias Hendrik, security guard, gave final order to Fransiskus to carry out the killing.
# Heri Santosa, unemployed, drove the motorbike.
# Daniel Daen, a security guard, the shooter.

The last two, the hired underlings, soon gave themselves up to police, apparently out of fear for their own lives. The mens’ lawyers claim they carried out the act because they were persuaded to view Zulkarnaen as an enemy of the state, because he was said to be plotting to ruin the 2009 national elections.

That last reason is flimsy to to say the least. It would also seem to be beyond comprehension that a senior policeman and a prominent media mogul would get involved in an affaire de coeur.

- It is alleged, by the police, that Antasari had an affair with a golf caddy, a 22 year old university student, Rani Julianti, who worked part time at the Modernland golf course, where both Nasrudin and Antasari played. She became Nasrudin's 3rd wife and Nasruddin supposedly threatened to expose Antasari's affair with Rani.

She hasn't been quoted and is apparently in hiding under 'police protection'.

- As head of the KPK, Antasari has authorised the prosecution of a number of prominent bankers, politicians and businessmen, including the father-in-law of one of SBY's sons. Inevitably, he has made a few enemies in certain circles of power.

- His defenders say that he is being framed, probably by sources in the Attorney General’s office, because Antasari led several aggressive investigations into corruption at the AGO. Interestingly, it was the AG's office which named Antasari as a suspect some days before the police issued their story of the alleged affair.

One may wonder how, if at all, the Attorney General, Hendarman Supanji, was kept out of the loop given that he, like Antasari, has a relatively 'clean' reputation. On being appointed by SBY, he is quoted as saying that four out of five prosecutors in Indonesia were open to corruption. He vowed to root out the wrongdoers, saying that his wide-ranging campaign against corruption would target state prosecutor's offices because they had a history of graft.reportedly taking bribes from some suspects in return for compiling weak criminal cases against them or recommending lenient punishment once cases reach court.

"I see that law enforcement can only succeed if the law enforcers themselves are clean."

Street gossip, which I can't verify, is that Antasari's wife is the sister of the wife of Abdul Hakim Ritonga, the deputy attorney-general on general crimes. Assuming that both Supanji and Ritonga would likely turn a blind eye to an alleged infidelity within the family, then if officials of the AG's office are involved, there is a cabal within operating independently.

For now, it would seem that the most probable motivation is that an ongoing case brought by the KPK is threatening to expose a number of businessmen and government officials.

It was reported that on Friday, Antasari's wife, Ida Laksmiwati, submitted documents on the PT Rajawali Nusantara Indonesia (RNI) corruption case to the Metro Police investigators. These documents were reportedly given to Antasari by Nasrudin Zulkarnaen.

Nasruddin was the director of the company PT Putra Rajawali Banjaran (PRB), a pharmaceutical company and subsidiary of the state owned PT Rajawali Nusantara Indonesia (RNI).

On March 30th the trial began of Ranendra Dangin, the former finance director of RNI, for allegedly embezzling 45 billion rupiah from the sugar import monopoly controlled by RNI and the National Logistics Agency (Bulog).

Zulkarnaen was expected to be called to give evidence against Ranendra.

Public sentiment is on the side of Antasari and among those who have expressed support are many lawyers acting in a pro bono capacity, senior journalists - and Nasrudin Zulkarnaen's brother.

I've spent a long time putting this post together, so now count Jakartass among their number.

I really don't like cockroaches.



3:00 pm
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