Indonesian House Speaker held over graft


Nabbed: Novanto being escorted by KPK officials in Jakarta. — AFP

JAKARTA: Indonesias Speaker of Parliament Setya Novanto has been detained by the Corruption Eradica­tion Commission (KPK) after the anti-graft agency announced that his medical condition does not require hospitalisation.

Novanto, 62, is being sought for questioning over a major scandal involving US$170mil (RM705mil) of stolen state funds.

The Golkar party chairman was admitted to a private hospital last Thursday after the car he was in crashed into a tree and a street light pole in south Jakarta.

KPK issued an order to move him to the main state hospital RSCM in Central Jakarta, where Novanto was examined by the hospital doctors and by doctors from the Indonesian medical doctors association (IDI).

Novanto arrived at KPK at 11.40pm on Sunday, wearing an orange KPK detainee vest and was ushered into the building in a wheelchair, footage from national television stations showed. He did not give any comments.

Novanto’s lawyer on Nov 15 filed a pre-trial petition against his clients status as a corruption suspect, challenging the procedure KPK had carried out in handling the case. The first hearing for Novanto’s pre-trial will be held on Nov 30 at the South Jakarta District Court.

The anti-graft agency had earlier failed to locate and detain Novanto when it raided his home last Wednesday.

Investigators allege that Novanto was among dozens of politicians who received kickbacks from funds earmarked for a 2009 government project to issue new identification cards, called e-KTP, to citizens aged 17 and above. Indonesia, the worlds fourth most populous country, has a population of more than 250 million.

There has been speculation that the crash, in which Novanto suffered head injuries, was arranged as an excuse so he could avoid questioning. Novanto has failed to answer several summons from the KPK, citing a heart ailment.

Novanto’s lawyer Fredrich Yunadi has protested against Sun­day night’s detention.

What we have just seen shows that justice has been overtaken by power, he said by phone yesterday. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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