Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Al Amin faces multiple charges

Al Amin faces multiple charges

Irawaty Wardany , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta Wed, 08/27/2008

Prosecutors handed out indictments ranging from from blackmail to bribery Tuesday against House of Representatives lawmaker Al Amin Nur Nasution.

Prosecutors told the Corruption Court Al Amin received bribes for the conversion of conservation forests on Bintan Island in Riau and at Tanjung Pantai Air Telang in the South Sumatra regency of Banyuasin, in addition to demanding money from companies that joined tenders for the Forestry Ministry's procurement of the Global Positioning System (GPS) Geodetic, GPS handhelds and Total Station.

"The defendant received gifts and promises in exchange for acting beyond his authority as a lawmaker," prosecutor Suwarji said.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of lifetime imprisonment and up to Rp 1 billion in fines, according to the 2001 Anti-Corruption Law.
In the indictments, prosecutors cited Al Amin's colleagues at the House's Commission IV on forestry as accomplices, particularly Sarjan Tahir and Azwar Chesputra.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested Al Amin on April 8, hours after the House's Commission IV approved the conversion of the Bintan conservation forest for the development of a new capital. Bintan secretary Azirwan is standing trial separately in connection with the case.
For his role in helping the Bintan administration win the House's approval for the conversion, Al Amin received at least Rp 250 million and S$300,000 from Azirwan, who also promised to give Rp 2 billion to Commission IV members.

"Al Amin asked for an additional Rp 1 billion for the endorsement, Rp 75 million in travel allowances for each of the Commission IV members who went to India, plus pocket money for lawmakers who were to visit Bintan," Suwarji added.

Investigators later discovered Al Amin received part of the Rp 2.5 billion in bribes given to Sarjan and Azwar for the commission's endorsement of the clearing of Tanjung Pantai Air Telang's conservation forest to make way for a new seaport.

Sarjan, a member of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party, has been named a suspect in the case and detained, while the probe into Azwar is still underway.

According to prosecutors, Al Amin forced executives of GPS supplying companies PT Almega Geosystem and PT Data Script to pay Rp 1.2 billion and Rp 286 million to expedite the procurement process, threatening to raise questions about the procurement in the House and to push for revocation of the contracts if they refused.

Al Amin denied the charges, saying many elements of the indictments ran counter to the facts.

Presiding Judge Edward Patinasarany asked the defendant to submit his defense plea at the next session, scheduled for Sept. 5.