Rizky Amelia & SP/Novianti Setuningsih
The Corruption Eradication Commission may have its own doctors verify the condition of Artalyta Suryani after the graft convict failed to appear for questioning in a bribery case.
“We are considering sending a team to Singapore,” said Busyro Muqoddas, deputy chairman of the antigraft agency, known as the KPK. “If Artalyta doesn’t show up after her second summons without a verifiable excuse, then by law we can force her to appear.”
Artalyta was released from jail in January 2011 after serving two-thirds of a four-and-a-half-year sentence for bribing a prosecutor. She was summoned this week by the KPK to give testimony in a case involving an alleged bribe given to an official in Central Sulawesi’s Buol district by a palm oil plantation company.
Amran Batalipu, the Buol district chief, was arrested by the KPK for allegedly taking money from a company owned by Hartati Murdaya in exchange for a plantation concession. Yani Ansori and Gondo Sunjono, executives at Hardaya Inti Plantations, have also been named suspects.
It is not clear what role Artalyta may have played in the case or what she knows. Artalyta owns a palm oil plantation in Buol, and is considered a Hardaya competitor.
Busyro declined to offer details on Artalyta’s role, saying only that her testimony was “instrumental” in unravelling the case.
Artalyta’s lawyer, Teuku Nasrullah, said his client had been in Singapore since June 22 for treatment on a nerve disorder in her neck. He said Artalyta had asked her doctor if she could travel to Lampung but the doctor had recommended against it.
“She asked that the meeting be rescheduled, but only after her doctor give the OK for her to travel,” Teuku said.
The lawyer went to the KPK office in South Jakarta on Wednesday to submit a letter from Artalyta’s doctors. “[The KPK] is welcome to check Artalyta’s condition to see if it is true or if this is all a lie,” he said when asked to comment on the KPK’s plan to verify his client’s condition.
Teuku said that it was impossible that Artalyta was faking her condition to avoid KPK questioning. “Artalyta’s sickness happened way before the KPK started investigating the case,” he said. “She went to Singapore on June 22 and started receiving treatment on June 23.”
The KPK also said it wanted information from Syaiful Mujani, a former researcher at the Indonesian Survey Institute, but did not provide details on how he might be connected to the case.