Sunday, June 24, 2007

Attorney general drops indictment over Gorontalo sugar cane factory

Saturday, June 16, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Attorney General's Office has decided to drop corruption charges around the 2003 sale of the PT Rajawali III sugar cane processing plant in Gorontalo because it found no indication of corruption in the case.

Secretary to the junior attorney general for special crimes Kemas Yahya Rahman said after reexamining the case the AGO found no indication of illegal action causing losses to the state.

After the findings and as chairman of the investigation team, Kemas then requested Attorney General Hendarman Supandji stop efforts toward indictment.

"For the sake of legal certainty, we have to make this decision," he said.

"We don't want this case to be prolonged because (it would be) detrimental to the people being investigated," Kemas told reporters on Friday.

He said witnesses had confirmed the sale of the factory by the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (BPPN) was not against the law.

"The audit by the Development Finance Controller also found no loss to the state," Kemas said.

Former chief of BPPN Safrudin Tumenggung was previously implicated in the deal, which was suspected to have caused Rp 505 billion (US$5.54 million) in losses to the state.

Kemas acknowledged the decision to stop the case was risky, but said the AGO was ready to take the risk of public criticism.

"It's up to the public or interested parties to take action if they are not satisfied or if they think they have suffered a loss. Let's talk about law," he said.

Hendarman said he agreed with the case cancellation, explaining that he had previously requested the former attorney general Abdurahman Saleh drop the case.

Hendarman said when he was in the position of junior attorney general for special crimes, he had examined the case and requested the cancellation because the investigation team he led found no indication of corruption.

"In my current position, I cannot directly recommend that the charges be dropped," he said.

"Therefore I had asked the secretary to the junior attorney general for special crimes to reexamine the case and report to me.

"The result of the most recent investigation is similar to that of the previous investigation.

"I am not involved in this investigation and have no ethical (issue) recommending that effort toward indictment be halted."

Hendarman also said that article 82 of the Criminal Code Procedure stipulated any interested parties could file for a pre-trial examination if they felt they had been affected by the investigation. (02)

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