16 Years: Luthfi Jailed Until the Cows Come Home

Lutfhi Hasan Ishaaq flashes a thumbs up sign to reporters at the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court on Dec. 9, 2013. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

Lutfhi Hasan Ishaaq flashes a thumbs up sign to reporters at the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court on Dec. 9, 2013. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

Disgraced Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) head Luthfi Hasan Ishaq was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Monday for attempting to corrupt Indonesia’s beef-import quota after a marathon four-hour reading of the case at the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court.

“[I am] declaring Luthfi Hasan Ishaq proven validly and convincingly guilty of conspiring in corruption crime and money laundering,” said chief judge Gusrizal Lubis.

He was proven guilty of both money laundering and corruption.

Luthfi was ordered to pay Rp 1 billion in fines or serve an extra one year in prison. The sentence was lower than the 18 years in prison and Rp 1.5 billion in fines initially demanded by prosecutors.

The former PKS chair was arrested alongside his close aide Ahmad Fathanah and two directors of the beef-import company Indoguna Utama in January. The sensational graft bust began with a PKS-backed money-for-meat scheme before growing to include allegations of the involvement of a part-time sex worker, a mysterious powerbroker with presidential ties and a late-night call to Agriculture Minister Suswono.

The KPK’s investigation uncovered Rp 1.3 billion in bribes paid to Luthfi — a claim the Islamist party denied — and charged the politician with both money laundering and corruption.

The initial bribe was reportedly only a “commitment fee” on the total Rp 40 billion promised to Luthfi in exchange for his influence over the Ministry of Agriculture.

The KPK did not immediately say whether it would appeal the verdict. Lutfhi immediately said he would appeal.

“I don’t accept this verdict and will appeal [the case],” Luthfi said, according to the Indonesian news portal Detik.com.

Three other people, including his aide and two Indoguna Utama executives, have also been found guilty by a panel of judges at the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court.

His aide Ahmad, who was caught in a hotel room with a college student moonlighting as a for-hire mistress, was sentenced to 14 years in prison on corruption charges as his trial drew to a close last month. The prosecution had demanded 17.5 years in prison in that case.

The KPK said it would appeal the verdict, alleging that Ahmad was also guilty of money laundering.

The two Indoguna Utama executives, Arya Abdi Effendi and Juard Effendi, were sentenced to 21 months in prison for delivering the bribery funds to Ahmad.

The company’s director Maria Elizabeth Liman has been charged in the case and is awaiting trial.

PKS party members have attempted to distance themselves from Ahmad in the months following the arrests, but, for the most part, have stuck behind Luthfi. The former chair should not have been charged with accepting a bribe, the party argued, because the money never made it past Ahmad.

Ahmad was arrested at Le Meridien Hotel, in Jakarta, shortly after accepting the bribery funds. Antigraft investigators found the married man in a hotel room with a naked college student he reportedly paid Rp 10 million to sleep with him.

It was only the beginning of what would prove to be a colorful trial. Ahmad used a small army of women — 45 in total — to launder his illicit wealth. Those on the take included everyone from a high school student to an adult magazine model — the latter of which admitted to receiving a diamond ring worth Rp 90 million and a Honda Jazz from the PKS aide.

Luthfi was an equally splashy spender, commissioning a custom stereo system for three of his cars that totaled Rp 56 million. The KPK seized six cars belonging to Luthfi and uncovered evidence that the 52-year-old man had 15 children and three wives. He married the third wife, 19-year-old Darin Mumtazah, when she was still in vocational school. The marriage was unregistered and secret, the KPK alleged.

The case has shaken the public’s perception of the PKS, which was once seen as both conservative and clean of corruption, and has threatened to climb the ranks as allegations flew of the involvement of high-profile officials in the Ministry of Agriculture.

The ministry, not Luthfi, is in charge of awarding beef import tenders. Luthfi reportedly used his considerable influence in the ministry to secure the approval of an additional 8,000 tons of beef for Indoguna Utama. He also set up a meeting between Maria and Suswono, the judges said, according to the Indonesian news portal Kompas.

Suswono, the agriculture minister, has not been charged in the case.

  • Vash

    Fair play to the KPK.

    Though, the entire judiciary system still needs to undergo a thorough review. 16 years in prison for this, while murdering Buddhists in Medan gets you only 9 months.

    On another note: Married man with 3 wives, paid prostitute 10 million to sleep with him? Seriously, do people not know when enough is enough? Absolute disgrace of a human being, Luthfi.

  • jaytee

    and he is still smiling???? sicko!

    • devine

      yeah, really weird…

    • http://farmers-pride.org/ The Farmer

      Agree – this stupid grin should be wiped off his face – if needed with the support of a baton….just a truly despicable person. Just thinking about that he once ran one of the most pious parties in Indonesia……makes me turn my stomach around and shows the truth about this party. And those who followed are certainly not much better.

  • zerodiversity

    16 years is still too low. KPK needs to appeal to make it over 20 years for someone like Luthfi. All the assets belonging to him and his wives need to be confiscated as well. KPK needs to make sure that he is too old to go for any government position by the time he is out.

  • H. Tobing

    Guilty as charged, let him serve his time and hopefully he does it with honor.

    • JohnGalt

      If this fellow had any honour he would not have been found guilty of corruption. Remember this man was convicted for influencing the quotas for imports of beef, influencing a law imposed by the government of Indonesia.Caught manipulating laws through his position in public office and in a party that claims to be above corruption. In effect his actions are insuring the high cost of food on your table.

      There can be no honour in men that are corrupt. Men that have honour are not corrupt. This man was in a position of authority in the national government and is found to be guilty of corruption. Honour is as far from this man’s mind as the moon. Please do not rationalize yourself into apathy that allows these criminals continuing status. They are criminals- hard core – of the worst type, the type that abuse their public office to the detriment of the entire nation and for their own self interests.

      Capital punishment is not appropriate for criminals of this category. Extensive prison sentences, confiscation of all assets, public shaming and being barred from any further public office should be sufficient. Treat them like the criminals they are impoverish them and bar them from any influence in civil society ever after. Make sure they cannot serve time and at the same time live off and utilize any wealth they may have legally or otherwise. The worst punishment imaginable for people like this would be for them to become one of the millions and millions of people that have to survive on less than Rps 20,000 per day. The people that they steal from.

      But above all, the realization that these convicts are criminals. Corruption is a criminal offense it is not in a category of it’s own and of lesser degree. It is hard core crime and is the single most inhibiting factor in the development of Indonesia as a nation. There can be no honour in people that seek to enrich themselves at the expense of every single citizen of the country.

      Yes do his sentence but accord him no honour in his actually serving his time. He is a criminal on the same scale as a murderer or a child molester. The only difference is that effects of his actions are much wider spread.

      • Joe90

        well said…..

      • http://farmers-pride.org/ The Farmer

        Well said sir!

      • H. Tobing

        Wel you know what they say, Who is John Galt, anyway?

        • JohnGalt

          Seriously, is that the best you can do? That’s your response a misquote?

          • Valkyrie1604

            John, anyone that post something like you did WILL NOT meet his approval. Most of his postings are merely “pop shots” at others. Observe! He was busy posting at Bloomberg, ABC, Computer World and other establishments. Now he back once again.

            Used the wrong word but too proud to admit the error. Another mule in the Thomson barn.

    • Pelan2

      Tobing, from time to time you have some valid points, but in this one you are way off. To use the word honour when talking about Indonesian officials/politicians is plain stupid. He should have been shot…

      • H. Tobing

        That would be against the law.

    • TalkingEid

      There is no honor among thieves – and that’s exactly what he is.

  • devine

    yes… that is how it used to be… now it is more likely he gets an additional 5 years and the money laundry charge which will then strip him of most his possessions… judges are getting tougher on these issue (not last because they are closely watched)… quite a surprise but fact…

  • Serigala-Berbulu-Domba

    I would sooner see Lufti jailed until such time as pigs flying become a common sight.

  • zerodiversity

    But he can still become chairman of a party right?