Jakarta. House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto has been hospitalized following a solo car crash on Thursday night (16/11), mere hours after making his first public statement regarding a warrant for his arrest in the so-called e-KTP corruption case.
Novanto has repeatedly failed to show up for questioning by antigraft investigators as a suspect in the case involving massive graft in the procurement of electronic national identity cards, or e-KTP. The project was mothballed in October 2015 following a series of problems, including a late start, technical glitches and officials demanding payments from residents to provide the ostensibly free service.
Novanto's lawyer Fredrich Yunadi confirmed that his client was admitted to Permata Hijau Hospital in South Jakarta. He said Novanto was unconscious and that he suffered from high blood pressure, in addition to a pre-existing heart condition.
"I received a call to meet him at the Metro TV studios. On my way [to Metro TV], his aide informed me that they had just been involved in an accident ... he [Novanto] was injured and immediately lost consciousness," Fredrich said.
The lawyer explained that Novanto intended to comply with a summons by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prior to the accident, but that this unfortunately prevented his client from doing so.
Fredrich said four internists are observing Novanto due to his "serious" medical condition, which will require his client undergoing a computed tomography, or MRI, test.
A few hours before the accident, Metro TV conducted a telephonic interview with the Golkar Party chairman, who denied allegations that he was trying to avoid questioning in the case.
"I have to respect the legal process I am facing now, and I always respect the process. I never fail [to comply with KPK summonses], because each of the three times I was summoned as a witness in the case against Anang, I submitted written statements. Today is my fourth summons," Novanto said, referring to Anang Sudihardjo, president director of Quadra Solution, one of the companies in a consortium that won a contract to procure the national identity cards for the government.
"This is my first summons as a suspect. I am surprised, because just after the first summons, while I was studying the legal matters for today, there was a plan to arrest me," he continued.
In early November, the KPK named Novanto a suspect in the case for a second time, based on allegations that he siphoned off Rp 574 billion ($42 million) from the Rp 5.9 trillion e-KTP project, which resulted in Rp 2.3 trillion in state losses.
"I never received money; it can be checked with the BPK [State Audit Agency] or the BPKP [State Finance and Development Surveillance Committee]," Novanto stressed.
He explained that he filed for a judicial review by the Constitutional Court of the 2002 Law on the KPK, including an article that allows the antigraft agency to question a suspect by disregarding procedures stipulated in other laws. Another article allows the KPK to request the immigration office to impose a travel ban on a graft suspect.
"I also took up legal protection measures with the president and other state agencies," he said, admitting that he reported KPK commissioners Agus Rahardjo and Saut Situmorang to the police for abuse of authority and using false documents to bar him from leaving the country.
Novanto's whereabouts were unknown when antigraft investigators showed up at his house in South Jakarta on Wednesday night. This prompted the KPK to warn the politician that he would be declared a fugitive from justice if he did not surrender himself to investigators.
Police said on Wednesday that they would assist the KPK in apprehending Novanto if requested to do so.
Top Indonesian politician embroiled in huge corruption case goes missing
Golkar to Find New Chairman to Replace Disgraced Setya Novanto https://t.co/2fXyQChzwj pic.twitter.com/Z1d3IdvgzWâ€” The Jakarta Globe (@thejakartaglobe) November 20, 2017