Miranda Sentenced to Three Years Over Vote-Buying Scheme

By webadmin on 11:50 am Sep 27, 2012
Category Archive

Rizky Amelia

[Updated on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012]

Miranda Goeltom, the former senior deputy governor
of Bank Indonesia, has lashed out at her conviction and three-year
prison sentence for bribing legislators in 2004 to appoint her to the
central bank’s second-highest post.

Miranda said she was shocked
by the verdict handed down on Thursday by the Jakarta Anti-Corruption
Court, adding she had been convinced that the court would have acquitted
her because of the lack of incriminating evidence tying her to the Rp
24 billion ($2.5 million) bribery scheme.

“To the honorable
judges and prosecutors whom I respect, I want to say that I’m surprised
and shocked,” she said in response to the verdict.

Before the
hearing, Miranda had told reporters that she was confident she would be
found not guilty, despite the Anti-Corruption Court’s reputation for
never having acquitted any defendants.

“I’m happy because during the trial I was not proven to be guilty,” she said outside the courthouse.

“I’m sure I will be freed.”

However, the panel of judges led by Gusrizal ruled otherwise.

“The
court declares that defendant Miranda Swaray Goeltom has been
convincingly proven to have committed corruption as charged under
Article 5(i) of Anti-Corruption Law,” Gusrizal said.

The
three-year sentence handed down was lower than the four years sought by
prosecutors from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

The
court also ordered Miranda to pay Rp 100 million in fines or serve an
additional three months in prison in lieu of payment. The KPK had
initially sought a Rp 150 million fine.

After the verdict,
Miranda said she believed she had been found guilty based on public
opinion, and not on the strength of the evidence presented in court.

“Quite
frankly I’m shocked and I believe that public opinion has won in this
case, because not a single one of the accusations made in court was
proved by the facts presented,” she said.

“Why didn’t they just pronounce me guilty on January 26?” she went on, referring to the date when the KPK named her a suspect.

“Why
did we have to waste our energy going through this long trial,
presenting all the evidence and listening to all the witness
testimonies?”

Miranda’s lawyer, Dodi Abdul Kadir, also condemned the decision and said his side would appeal the guilty verdict.

“We won’t spend time weighing our options, we’re going to appeal,” he said.

“In
the trial itself, none of the charges against my client was
satisfactorily proved, and none of the facts or evidence presented
supported the charges. The judges’ interpretation of the case was not
informed by the evidence.”

Miranda, the central figure in the
massive bribery plot, becomes the latest person convicted in the case
stemming from the 2004 vetting process by the House of Representatives
to choose a senior deputy governor for the central bank.

Earlier
this year, Miranda’s associate, Nunun Nurbaetie Daradjatun, was
convicted for arranging the payment of Rp 20.8 billion of the total Rp
24 billion bribe.

A total of 28 legislators have also been
convicted and jailed for taking bribes in the form of traveler’s checks,
although the central question of who put up the money for the bribes
remains unanswered.

According to the government’s Financial
Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK), the checks were first
requested by oil palm firm First Mujur Plantation and Industry from Bank
Artha Graha to buy new land.

Both firms are associated companies of the Artha Graha Group, owned by tycoon Tomy Winata.

When
the bank was unable to fulfill the request, it purchased the checks
from Bank International Indonesia. At some point after this, the checks
wound up with Nunun, although it remains unclear how.

Nunun is
then alleged to have ordered Arie Malangjudo, a former director at her
palm oil company, Wahana Eka Sembada, to give the checks to the
legislators.

Shortly after Miranda was appointed to Bank
Indonesia, Bank Artha Graha bought Bank Inter-Pacific in a move that
allowed it to list on the Indonesia Stock Exchange without an initial
public offering. The central bank signed off on the merger.

Johan
Budi, a spokesman for the KPK, said after Thursday’s ruling that the
investigation to reveal the ultimate source of the money would depend on
how Miranda’s case played out.

“From the beginning we’ve said
that the KPK can only investigate this in light of the evidence
presented at the trial. The question now is whether the judges’ ruling
allows the KPK to develop the investigation further,” he said.

He
added the KPK prosecutors would study the ruling carefully to see if
there were any new developments that they could look into as part of
their probe.

Johan also said the KPK was ready to face Miranda’s
appeal against the conviction, but did not say whether the antigraft
body was itself considering appealing for a longer sentence.