Sunday, June 24, 2007

AGO demands written verdict for appeal

Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

With time fast disappearing to appeal the recent exoneration of two suspects in the Hilton Hotel corruption case by the Central Jakarta District Court, the Attorney General's Office demanded Tuesday that the court release its written verdict.

"The prosecutors who handled the Hilton case have told me that they have not yet received the required written copy of the verdict (delivered June 12) from the Central Jakarta District Court," AGO spokesman Salman Maryadi told reporters Tuesday.

The Criminal Code Procedures stipulate that a request for a Supreme Court appeal should be submitted within 14 days of the verdict being announced. After making that request, the applicant must then submit a memorandum of appeal containing the reason for the appeal within a further 14 days.

"(The delay in receiving the written verdict) will make it difficult for prosecutors to formulate the memorandum of appeal on time," Salman said.

He said the team of prosecutors lead by Ali Mukartono had openly and immediately declared its intention to appeal the verdict after its announcement, but has not submitted any paperwork to the court's clerk because it is still awaiting the written verdict.

"If we do not receive the verdict by June 26, on what will we base our memorandum of appeal?" Salman asked.

Due to the delay, prosecutors have been forced to base the appeal memorandum thus far on their own records and notes taken during the trial.

"We still have one week to formally request an appeal. If we note our intention to appeal now, we will have to submit the memorandum right away, even though we haven't received the written verdict yet. So we need to wait for the written verdict," Salman said.

On June 12, the Central Jakarta District Court exonerated suspended Southeast Sulawesi governor Ali Mazi and business tycoon Pontjo Sutowo for their alleged roles in the extension of a building use permit for 13 hectares of state land at the Bung Karno Sport Complex in Central Jakarta for the then Hilton Hotel.

The AGO claims the pair's actions caused the state to suffer Rp 1.9 trillion (US$206 million) in losses.

Soon after the verdict, Kemas Yahya Rahman, the secretary to the junior attorney general for special crimes, said the AGO was "deeply concerned and so disappointed" with the verdict, and would seek a Supreme Court appeal of the district court's decision as it still believed that Ali Mazi and Pontjo had illegitimately benefited from the extension of the building use permit.

Salman added that although several of the prosecutors who handled the case have been promoted to posts outside Jakarta, they could still be recalled for the appeal -- Ali Mukartono is now head of the Cilegon District Court in Banten province, Eko Bambang is now head of the Rembang District Court in Central Java and Hendrizal is now head of the Purwodadi District Court in Central Java.

"We can call them anytime we need to deal with the memorandum of appeal. Furthermore, there are still other members of the team that have not been promoted and can still consult on the case," Salman said. (02)

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