When a judge takes bribes

Courtroom scandal: The Judicial Commission said it would launch an ethics probe into justice Surajad that was separate from the KPK’s criminal investigation. —The Jakarta Post/ANN

The recent arrest of Supreme Court justice Sudrajad Dimyati by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for alleged bribery has exposed the failure of the court in curbing judicial corruption.

Sudrajad was named a suspect early on Friday for allegedly taking bribes relating to a civil case handled by the Supreme Court, along with nine other people following a series of KPK raids in Jakarta and Semarang in Central Java.

The nine other suspects are clerk Elly Tri Pangestu and a number of staff members of the top court’s registry office, as well as two businessmen – who filed a cassation appeal against a Semarang commercial court ruling in a case pertaining to savings and lending cooperative KSP Intidana – and their two lawyers.

Sudrajat turned himself into the KPK later that day after he met with Supreme Court leaders who asked him to be cooperative with the investigators. He is now in KPK custody.

Sudrajad had allegedly accepted 800 million rupiah (RM242,460) in bribes in return for a Supreme Court cassation ruling favouring businessmen Ivan Dwi Kusuma Sujanto and Heryanto Tanaka, who were involved in the civil case battle against Intidana.

Both businessmen were previously members of a Semarang-based cooperative that sought a bankruptcy ruling against Intidana this year after it failed to fulfill its obligations to return the savings of its members, which had reached nearly one trillion rupiah (RM302.6mil).

They lost the case at the Semarang Commercial Court but won the appeal at the Supreme Court.

Through their lawyers, Ivan and Heryanto allegedly gave the Supreme Court clerk and workers US$141,266 (RM646,488) in bribes – part of which was channelled to Sudrajad.

The KPK also found indications of Sudrajad and other suspects having been involved in other cases.

“We suspect that those court officials also took payments from other people who have cases tried by the Supreme Court. Our team is investigating it further,” KPK deputy chairman Alexander Marwata told a press briefing.

Supreme Court head for monitoring Zahrul Rabain said that the court would support and be cooperative with the KPK.

The Judicial Commission, which has the power to select Supreme Court justices, investigate ethical breaches and recommend sanctions for judges found to be in violation of the ethics code, said that it would launch an ethics probe into Surajad and Elly that was separate from the KPK’s criminal investigation.

Sudrajad, previously a judge at the Pontianak High Court, is no stranger to controversy.

When he was a justice nominee in 2013, he allegedly attempted to bribe a then-lawmaker at his confirmation hearing by the House of Representatives’ legal affairs commission.

He was caught by a news reporter handing an envelope to the lawmaker in a restroom shortly after his interview by lawmakers. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

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