|Setya Novanto has been charged with embezzling Rp 574 billion ($42 million).|
(Antara Photo/Aprillio Akbar)
Jakarta.Antigraft officials said investigators had built a strong case against Setya Novanto, as they countered arguments by expert witnesses during a hearing on Monday (11/12).
Setya has filed again a pretrial motion with the South Jakarta District Court to clear him as a graft suspect. The same court ruled in late September that naming Setya as a suspect in July was "procedurally flawed" and the charges were invalid.
Three witnesses brought by Setya's lawyers to the court on Monday questioned the validity of evidence against him.
One of the witnesses, Mudzakir, a criminal law expert at the Islamic University of Indonesia (UII) in Yogyakarta, said the evidence against the former House of Representatives speaker was invalidated by the ruling.
According to him, the move to charge Setya again in late October was therefore based on "outdated evidence."
"It's similar to opening again an investigation that has been halted. If there's no new evidence, it can't be reopened," he said.
But a Constitutional Court ruling issued this year, cited by antigraft officials during the hearing, allows investigators to rely on evidence that was used against a suspect who has won a pretrial motion.
"A pretrial verdict shouldn't hamper investigators' efforts to handle a case," said Evi Laila Kholis, a member of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) legal bureau.
The evidence against Setya had also been "complemented," KPK officials said.
In the next days, the KPK is going to bring five witnesses to the South Jakarta District Court, whose ruling is expected on Thursday.
Setya has been charged with embezzling Rp 574 billion ($42 million) from the Rp 5.9 trillion procurement of national electronic identity cards (e-KTP) project. He can face 20 years in jail, if found guilty.
The graft case resulted in Rp 2.3 trillion state losses.
Graft Suspect Setya Novanto Resigns as House Speaker https://t.co/AuTC7ophrj pic.twitter.com/rZnWcR8rtR— The Jakarta Globe (@thejakartaglobe) December 11, 2017