Indonesian netizens could only turn to memes to express their shock that House Speaker Setya Novanto could somehow dodge corruption charges yet again after he won a pretrial motion to lift the suspect status placed on him by the Corruption Eradication Committee (KPK) as part of their investigation into the massive electronic identity card (e-KTP) corruption case.
But the KPK says they have new evidence from the US Federal Bureau of Investigations that could be used to reestablish Setya as a suspect once again, evidence that ties the house speaker to a key witness in the e-KTP case who allegedly committed suicide in in August.
Investigators in the US say Johannes Marliem, who was the president director of biometric data company Biomorf Lone LLC, took his own life after a tense standoff with police in Los Angeles. He told the Indonesian media that his life might be in danger after he was publicly named a witness in the e-KTP corruption case and shortly before he killed himself.
The KPK has obtained a 33-page court document, filed by FBI Special Agent Jonathan E. Holden on September 28, which states that Setya directly negotiated a “discounted” price on the e-KTP project with Marliem. A copy of the document has been obtained by Tempo, which has detailed its contents.
If agent Holden’s document is upheld in an Indonesian court, it could decisively implicate Setya as being a major player in the IDR2.3 trillion (US$169 million) corruption case.
The FBI document was filed in a Minnesota court to support a motion that Marliem’s assets be seized on the grounds that they were obtained through illegal means (Marliem was a US citizen legally residing in Minnesota at the time of his death). However, the evidence compiled in the document was actually acquired by the FBI indirectly through the KPK.
According to Tempo, page 18 of the document details Marliem’s statements to four investigators from the KPK, who interviewed him at the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Los Angeles from July 5-7.
The document says that Marliem flew to Jakarta in 2011, during which time he met with Setya, a businessman named Andi Agustinus, and someone called “Oka”. In the meeting at Setya’s house, the Golkar head asked Marliem for a “discount” on each of the 172 million e-KTP cards that would eventually be needed for every Indonesian and they agreed on a “discounted” rate of Rp 2,000 per card from the Rp 5,000 paid by the government.
“Marliem understood that the ‘discount’ was meant to be a bribe, and he accepted it,” Holden wrote in the document.
The document also mentions that Marliem recorded all the conversations at Setya’s home and that the tape was then played in front of the KPK investigators who met him in Los Angeles. It also contains evidence of banking transactions related to the scandal.
Biomorf Lone Indonesia, a subsidiary of Biomorf Lone LLC USA, is a subcontractor to the company which won the bid for the e-KTP project and was responsible for a IDR680 billion portion of the project’s total IDR5.84 trillion budget.
You are probably wondering why the KPK would need to use an FBI document detailing testimony from KPK investigators to secure a new indictment against Setya, rather than simply using the original evidence. But that is likely because the direct evidence for their investigation was used to indict Setya the first time, and because of his pretrial win the same evidence cannot be used to name him a suspect once again.
KPK Deputy Chairman Saut Situmorang said the FBI document could be used as evidence to prosecute Setya in the e-KTP once again. “The Criminal Procedure Code does not prohibit evidence of any origin as long as it is relevant to the case,” he said as quoted by Tempo.
Setya Novanto’s lawyer, Fredrich Yunadi, denied all allegations that his client had met with Marliem and negotiated a price, saying it was nothing more than lies and accusations.
Andi Agustinus’s lawyer, Samsul Huda, said as far as he knew his client had never met with Marliem.
Andi, who was also named a suspect in the e-KTP case, is currently undergoing trial and Setya was set to testify as a witness at his hearing today, but did not show up. He was also a no-show at previous calls for questioning by the KPK, claiming health problems.