Gayus Tax Mafia Case Lands Police Officer, Businessman in Jail

By webadmin on 12:09 am Sep 21, 2010
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Heru Andriyanto

Jakarta. The first two guilty verdicts in the Gayus Tambunan tax mafia scandal that rocked the country’s law enforcement agencies this year were handed out on Monday to a police officer and a businessman.

Comr. Arafat Enanie, one of the detectives assigned to investigate Gayus, a rogue tax official accused of embezzling billions of rupiah, was sentenced to five years in prison for “multiple counts of corruption,” including receiving a Harley-Davidson motorcycle as a bribe.

The businessman who gave him the motorcycle in exchange for not being named a suspect, Alif Kuncoro , who was one of Gayus’s associates, was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

The scandal began to unravel when Rp 28 billion ($3.1 million) was found last year in Gayus’s bank accounts. The case against him, however, was quietly investigated and brought to trial, where he was acquitted of watered-down charges in March.

Multimillion-Rupiah Bribes

The case only came to light when a police general, Susno Duadji, alleged that Gayus had bribed police investigators and prosecutors to drop the more serious charges of money-laundering and corruption.

The case exposed widespread graft in the country’s law enforcement agencies and judiciary, and saw nine individuals charged for their roles in the scandal.

According to the court, Arafat accepted payoffs totaling Rp 102.5 million and $56,000 from Gayus, Rp 1.75 million from tax consultant Robertus Santonius, and Rp 5 million from businessman Andi Kosasih, “which were meant to get him to abuse his authority as an investigator to influence the Gayus case.”

The court said Arafat also threatened to name Alif and his younger brother, Imam Cahyo Maliki, as suspects along with Gayus if they did not buy him a Harley.

In fact, Gayus testified that he had accompanied Alif and Arafat to a dealership in Jakarta, where the officer personally chose the motorcycle.

“The defendant is guilty on multiple counts of corruption and must be sentenced according to his crime,” said Haswandi, the presiding judge at the South Jakarta District Court.

The five-year sentence, together with a fine of Rp 150 million, was heavier than the four years demanded by prosecutors. Additionally, the court ordered the Harley and Arafat’s Toyota Fortuner to be seized by the state.

“He committed graft multiple times. Corruption is considered an extraordinary crime, and the defendant is a police officer as well as a member of the PPATK, who should have set a good example,” Haswandi said, referring to the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center.

“Instead he ruined the image of the law enforcement agencies, didn’t admit to the crime, and didn’t show any remorse.”

Another police officer, Arafat’s assistant, Sri Sumartini, is also being tried separately for allegedly taking bribes from Gayus.

Alif, who received his verdict earlier in the day from a separate panel of judges, found more favor from the court. The one-and-a-half-year sentence and Rp 50 million fine he received were lighter than the prosecutors’ demand for two-and-a-half-years and a Rp 100 million fine.

“The mitigating factors: The defendant is the breadwinner for his family; he has never been convicted of a crime before; he has behaved politely and spoken frankly during the trial,” said presiding judge Mien Trisnawaty.

Alif’s lawyers said they would take a week to decide whether to appeal against the verdict.

‘Big Fish’ Still Off the Hook

Arafat, on the other hand, immediately said he would appeal the “unfair verdict.”

He said the verdict clearly mentioned the involvement of state prosecutors Cirus Sinaga, Fadil Regan and his superiors.

“But I have to shoulder everything? This is very unfair to me,” he told reporters shortly after the ruling was handed down.

While reading the verdict, Haswandi repeatedly said that Cirus and Fadil had persuaded Arafat to charge Gayus with embezzlement because corruption charges would draw the involvement of a separate division at the Attorney General’s Office.

Corruption is handled by the AGO’s special crimes unit, while Cirus and Fadil served in the general crimes unit.

Haswandi also said the two prosecutors had allowed Gayus’s accounts to be partially unfrozen and the decision to unfreeze the accounts was signed off by Brig. Gen. Raja Erizman, Arafat’s superior at the National Police’s economic crimes division.

Money trails to several other senior police officers were also mentioned by the judge.

Gayus, the man at the center of the scandal, has also questioned why only low-ranking officers have been charged.

According to Gayus’s lawyer, Adnan Buyung Nasution, he even told investigators that he had given $700,000 to police to stop them from seizing his home and investigating his bank accounts.

“However, prosecutors only have the courage to uncover aspects of the tax mafia scandal that involve low-ranking officers like Arafat Enanie and Sri Sumartini … who received only a small portion of the money flow,” Buyung told the same court on Monday in his preliminary defense for Gayus’s trial.

“The ‘big fish’ have never been interrogated, let alone named as suspects in the case.”

Lawyer Put on Trial

The ingrained culture of graft in the judicial system has been exposed with Haposan Hutagalung, a defense lawyer, also being charged with obstructing justice and bribery in connection with the Gayus case.

The lawyer’s trial opened on Monday with prosecutors accusing him of bribing police officers with $100,000 to keep Gayus out of detention, another $45,000 bribe to prevent the seizure of Gayus’s house, and $500,000 to unfreeze his bank accounts.

Haposan, who faces up to 12 years in jail if convicted, also received $500,000 from Gayus for his services, the indictment said.

Prosecutor Muhamad Sumartono said Haposan had fabricated an elaborate story to legitimize Gayus’s amassed wealth, even drafting a falsified land purchase agreement between Gayus and businessman Andy Kosasih .

Ironically, Susno, the police whistle-blower, has also been named a graft suspect based on alleged dealings with Haposan.

Haposan is accused of having bribed Susno while he was still the National Police’s chief of detectives, allegedly paying him Rp 500 million in an unrelated case.

Haposan said after the hearing that Susno had extorted him. “I’m a victim here — I didn’t offer Susno anything. I felt I was being extorted,” he said.

He told reporters Susno had requested the money through alleged case broker Sjahril Djohan because it was “a big case.”