A major corruption scandal in Jakarta has called into question the fundamental veracity of the Indonesian legal system and carries the potential of wide-ranging ramifications, both politically and geographically, as the declared results of a number of numerous provincial and regional leadership elections are now being called into doubt.
The arrest of the chief justice of the Indonesian Constitutional Court Akil Mochtar by the Corruption Eradication Agency (KPK) is threatening to change the very face of next year’s presidential with its propensity of proving rampant corruption at the very highest level of government,.
Mochtar, a former legislator and a leader in the Golkar Party, was arrested at his home in Jakarta meeting with protagonists in regional elections in Kalimantan and Bantem presently being decided by the Constitutional Court.
KPK officials confiscated a large sum of foreign currency at Mochtar's home while indicating they have a collection of taped conversations confirming Mochtar’s venality, recorded over the course of a prolonged investigation by KPK.
In rapid response to the arrest and the mounting evidence against Mochtar, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took the unprecedented step of temporarily suspending Mochtar as chief justice.
Mochtar’s arrest calls into question a number of rulings made by the Court that decided winners in provincial and regional elections, including the extremely close race for Bali Governor that saw the Court rule Made Mangku Pastika the legal winner of that race.
The Jakarta Globe quotes an official of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), Hasto Kristianto, claiming the Court was paid Rp. 80 billion to rule Governor Made Mangku Pastika and Ketut Sudikerta the winner of the Bali gubernatorial race, defeating the PDIP candidates.
Akil has served in the Constitutional Court since 2009,
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
A conundrum of almost unfathomable proportions has been precipitated by Akil Mochtar’s arrest. While the authority of provincial and regional leaders governing because of decisions by the Court has been fundamentally undermined by indications of the Courts culpability in rendering election rulings in return for cash payment, at the same time the law provides that all decisions rendered by the Constitutional Court are final and irrevocable
Meanwhile, President Yudhoyono is being urged from a number of quarters to immediately suspend the Constitutional Court's right to decide local elections, returning that power to the Indonesian Supreme Court.
Many politcal leaders, including leading members of the Indonesian House of Representatives, are calling for the imposition of the death penalty against Mochtar should he be finally convicted of corrupting his role as the leader of the Constitutional Court.
Whle the penalty of death is an punishment option should Mochtar be convicted, it has never been imposed in a major corruption case in Indonesia.
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